Some of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools' facilities are in need of repair or replacement, as the CHCCS Finance and Facilities Committee discussed at its Sept. 13 meeting.
Rani Dasi, the CHCCS Board of Education vice chair, presented the findings of the Capital Needs Work Group, which was founded in 2021 and is composed of representatives from Orange County, Orange County Schools and CHCCS.
The work group’s goal is to develop a plan for dedicating funds and addressing the needs of school facilities, especially older ones.
The work group found that more than half of the schools in the county are over 50 years old, and many are in need of major repairs or total reconstruction.
The aging school buildings are expensive to maintain and can provide poor learning environments for children, the work group's presentation said.
“The latest thinking is that there's somewhere upwards of half a billion dollars that will be necessary to invest between the school districts in bringing those school buildings up to current standards,” Dasi said.
The work group also found that there are currently no standards or funding for ongoing school maintenance, and that policies have not been developed for allocating money for these needs.
The district has been doing basic repairs to maintain schools’ conditions, but their research shows that many schools are in need of far more.
“At what point are we going to stop putting Band-Aids, substantial financial Band-Aids, in the HVAC units, roof replacements, substantive domestic water pipe sewer replacements, when you know that you’d really need to renovate or even replace certain sections of schools?” CHCCS Deputy Superintendent for Operations Al Ciarochi said.