|For Immediate Release|
|Tuesday, June 25, 1996|
Massachusetts Education Commissioner Robert V. Antonucci Remarks On The General Accounting Office Report On The Condition Of Massachusetts Public School Buildings
Malden - I have reviewed a report on the condition of the public schools released today by the General Accounting Office, and offer this analysis of the issues raised by the report.
First, there is no crisis in the condition of Massachusetts public schools. The children in our school buildings are not in any danger of a safety risk. The structural safety of our school buildings is not in question, and our schools have adequate exits, adequate water supplies, adequate sanitation.
At the same time, we recognize the need for improvement in our school buildings. Our public schools are, indeed, getting older---many were built in the fifties and sixties---and there is a pressing, continuing, and increasing need to build new schools, expand space, improve ventilation and electrical capacity, and retrofit for technology.
The Commonwealth has a responsibility to assist districts to build new schools and improve older ones, and we are meeting that obligation. There are 180 school building projects that will be on the state list for funding in the next school year. We are spending $186 million this year on school building assistance. It is up to local communities to ensure a continued commitment to regular maintenance on their buildings. Too often, the local school building maintenance budget is cut, and there needs to be strong local support for maintaining our buildings.
Finally, the survey identified substantial needs for technology in our schools. We recognize this fact, and therefore are strongly supporting the Educational Technology Bond Bill now pending before the legislature. This bill will provide $30 million in state funds and leverage at least another $90 million in local funds to support modems, cables, phone lines and computer purchases for our students.