Impact Aid

Most School Construction Requests Are Unfunded and Outdated Gao ID: HRD-90-90 July 12, 1990

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the federal school construction program for school districts affected by federal activities.

GAO found that: (1) in 1988, appropriation shortfalls had created a backlog of 178 eligible unfunded construction projects in school districts; (2) total estimated federal payments for those projects could be about $216 million; (3) information on the number of federally connected children and the estimated costs of many eligible projects that remain unfunded from year to year is often outdated; (4) in 1989, school districts that submitted 20 of the 58 projects that GAO studied had already completed the projects; (5) school district officials that submitted 8 of the 20 completed projects said they did not need federal construction assistance; (6) because most project requests are at least 12 years old, the project priority scores may be outdated and invalid and the school districts may subsequently complete their projects without federal assistance; (7) since the Department of Education fails to reevaluate project priority scores, it cannot provide Congress with an accurate ranking of federally impacted schools with current school construction needs; and (8) due to increased construction costs, project payments to schools receive a smaller share of total construction costs than they would if they were funded promptly.


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