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It is that time of the year again, schools and universities are about to let out for the summer. With all the budget slashing still going on it is important that schools and universities use their maintenance resources wisely.

School Budgets, Maintenance, and the Pareto Principle

Cause of School and University Budget Cuts

Our Nation’s economy is complex yet it is simple to understand why our schools and universities are being hammered by a continuing decline in budgets. High unemployment rates lower the tax revenues available to States and local communities (yes, this is a very simple view).

Unemployment cuts State revenues because as income taxes, sales taxes, and other revenue sources used to pay for these programs decline. As State revenues are reduced, States begin to cut spending, layoff employees, cut contracts and reduce benefits.

These actions, although they seem fiscally prudent actually have a negative impact as more people become unemployed and businesses tighten their spending belts. The monies available for education continue to dwindle as the tax revenue base becomes smaller and smaller.

The Impact to School and University Budgets

As States trim their budgets of services, educational funding and programs, the Federal government has attempted to mitigate the impact through a series of aid packages. Unfortunately, much of this aid is set to expire before the economy is expected to recover.

This have left States struggling to find ways to balance their budgets and is resulting in deeper educational cut backs for the coming 2011-2012 school year.

“At least 34 states and the District of Columbia have implemented cuts to K-12 education…At least 43 states have implemented cuts to public colleges and universities and/or made large increases in college tuition to make up for insufficient state funding.”

Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

State School and University Education Woes
The Pareto Principle

The Pareto principle is more commonly referred to as the 80-20 rule. The thought is that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. For school and university maintenance this can be interpreted as 80% of the schools maintenance will come from 20% of the schools assets.

For example, during the course of the year, 80% of the door repair work orders will come from the 20% of the doors used most frequently. The same can be applied to carpet, windows, and all almost all wear and tear items.

Applying the Pareto Efficiency to Schools and Universities Maintenance Planning

The Pareto principle also known as the Pareto efficiency suggests that maintenance would be more efficient if efforts are concentrated on the 20% of assets causing the most work management. This means concentrating maintenance efforts on the most used school and university assets.

With budgets being reduced it is imperative that schools and universities try to get the most out of the maintenance resources they have at their disposal. Intelligent maintenance planning is the key to making sure that our schools and universities remain operational and safe when students return for the next school year.

Top Ten School and University Maintenance Checklist

Keeping the Pareto efficiency in mind, schools and universities should be using their CMMS to make sure that all maintenance work is scheduled and results recorded over the summer. Inspections checklist and work management should be scheduled for the following school and university assets:

Top Ten School and University Maintenance Items
  1. Classrooms and Equipment
  2. Common Areas
  3. Doors and Windows
  4. Playgrounds
  5. Recreational Equipment
  6. Plumbing and Fixtures
  7. Lighting
  8. HVAC
  9. Fleet Transportation
  10. Lighting

The use of a CMMS to organize and automate the work management process enables schools and universities to be more efficient and get more work done with the same amount of resources.