Feature Article - June 2007
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Operations and Economics

Around half of respondents from schools said they expect the number of people using their facilities to increase from 2005 to 2006, from 2006 to 2007, and from 2007 to 2008. Around 6 percent projected decreases for each year. There was not much change in the number of people anticipating an increase, no change or a decrease year over year, compared to the general survey population, where more people expect increases with each year that passes.

Revenue growth is much slower in schools and school districts than in the general survey population. More than half of general survey respondents said their revenues for 2006 were higher than in 2005, while just over a quarter of school districts said the same. And those numbers don't get much higher in succeeding years. From 2006 to 2007, just 35.5 percent of school respondents said they expected their revenues to increase, and from 2007 to 2008, less than a third expected revenue increases. This is largely due to the public nature of these facilities. Very few charge any kind of fees for usage of their facilities, so revenues all must come from funding of one sort or another, usually taxes, which can be extremely limited, and state funding, which is also feeling a tightening crunch.

Operating budgets among the general survey population were nearly 12 percent higher than those for schools and school districts, whose average yearly operating expenditures for fiscal 2006 were just over $1 million. In addition, respondents from schools expect their operating budgets to increase at a much slower rate than other respondents, just 4 percent between fiscal 2006 and fiscal 2008, compared to an 8.2 percent increase among the general survey population. (See Figure 38.) This may explain why more respondents from schools and school districts—more than four out of five—said budgets are a top concern for their facilities. Within the next three years, schools and school districts were second only to military installations in listing budgets as a top concern. As one respondent said, "Schools are always operating on a limited amount of money."

Schools employ far more full-time staff than other types of facilities, for obvious reasons, with the need for administrators, teachers and aides of all kinds. However, respondents from school districts, are expecting their staffs to grow more slowly than the average respondent. Among schools and school districts the average number of employees is

projected to grow 6.3 percent from 372.6 on average now to 396 in 2008. This compares to a 10.1 percent increase expected for all facility types in the same time period.

Schools were about average in terms of their certification requirements, with 81 percent of respondents from school facilities saying they required their staff to get certified. The most common certification among schools was a coaching certification, which is required by nearly three-quarters of respondents. Food service and lifeguard certifications were required by nearly one-third of respondents, and many also listed teaching certifications as a requirement.