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Outsourcing – Common Sense or Nonsense?

outsourcing

PHOTO © VADIM RATNIKOV

1/01/18: “Outsourcing – Common Sense or Nonsense?” article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the January 2018 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine.


Many school systems contract with a third party for essential and non-essential services. Some are quite successful, while others struggle to make the relationships work. Stories, both good and bad, abound in the industry about outsourcing. When does it make sense to outsource? When is it a mistake? What are the terms of some successful contracts?

The most frequent targets for outsourcing or privatization are the support activities of the school system—custodial, grounds, maintenance, transportation, and food services. These are often described as “non-core” activities, and therefore, thought to have less impact upon the organization’s performance than so-called “core” activities. These service activities also tend to use a substantial part of the budget for school systems and are considered by some to be “low hanging fruit” in the budget arena.

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Better than Bake Sale Funding for Capital Projects

funding capital projects

PHOTO COURTESY OF SFL+A

10/01/17: “Better Than Bake Sale Funding for Capital Projects” article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the October 2017 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine.


You’ve just finished calculations and priorities for your school district’s desperately needed projects. You have estimated the total project costs, and adjusted for the timeframe and inflation. You have even added a contingency percentage for unanticipated costs. But now is the really hard part — time to find the funding for the project.

Traditional Methods of Funding

If your approach to funding is traditional, you know there are the usual suspects, the three methods for funding capital projects: general obligation bonds, certificates of participation and pay-as-you-go.

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funding capital projects

PHOTO COURTESY OF SFL+A

Removing Barriers

fencing

PHOTO © ANDREW LAROWE

09/01/17: “Removing Barriers” article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the September 2017 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine.


Robert Frost said, “Never take down a fence until you know why it was put up.” Have you ever wondered about the purpose of a particular section of fencing at a school? The question might be answered by going all the way back to the original design of the campus. At the time of construction there may have been code requirements or local ordinances that required the project designer to specify fencing or other types of barriers. There may have been district level safety and security standards that were included in the design specifications. Over the span of time as codes, ordinances and district requirements change, school districts introduce additional fencing and barriers, often without removing or upgrading the original fencing. Other groups may also become involved with the addition of even more fencing in response to specific needs such as PTSA school improvement projects. Ultimately, an older school campus can become cluttered with many different types of barriers that may or may not be serving the original purpose. It may be time to assess current requirements against existing conditions and develop a comprehensive fencing management plan.

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fencing

PHOTO © ANDREW LAROWE

Creating Successful Joint-Use Collaborations

collaborations

PHOTO © MONKEY BUSINESS IMAGES

04/01/17: “Creating Successful Joint-Use Collaborations” article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the September 2016 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine.


Collaboration is the art and science of combining people’s talents, skills, and knowledge to achieve a common goal.
– Leigh Thompson, Creative Conspiracy: The New Rules of Breakthrough Collaboration

In the middle of planning a major capital project you suddenly realize that another agency could combine their needs and resources with yours to plan and build this project. Either through self-censorship or lack of interest from the other agency, your idea is dead on arrival. If a potential project is identified in your community, what are the ingredients of a successful collaboration? What is necessary to facilitate a solid joint use opportunity?

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All Visitors Must Sign In

school visitors

PHOTO COURTESY OF RAPTURE TECHNOLOGIES

04/01/17: “All Visitors Must Sign In” article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe  and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the September 2016 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine.


When developing security measures for school buildings, facility planners and administrators work hard to avoid visual references to correctional facilities. Any perception that they have gone too far with fencing, metal detectors or surveillance cameras typically generates an automatic response of, “we cannot operate our schools like prisons!” The learning environment we create for teachers and children is simply not the same as the space necessary for locking up criminals. Still, if the comparison sets an obvious boundary for the design and operation of school facilities, it does remind us that at least in prisons it is possible to have absolute control over individuals entering or exiting the building.

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school ID

PHOTO COURTESY OF RAPTURE TECHNOLOGIES

Weather or Not?

roofs

PHOTO COURTESY OF NICK APERGIS

03/01/17: “Weather or Not?” article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe  and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the September 2016 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine.

Photos courtesy of Andrew LaRowe


Simple Things

Whether it is annual, semi-annual or monthly, most experts agree that inspections by trained personnel will reduce leaks. Richard Rast of Bluefin, LLC, in Denver, Colo., says, “One of the biggest ‘small’ things that we run into is roof leaks related to clogged roof drains, gutters and debris on the roof.” He says these inspections, done by in-house technicians or a local roofing contractor can be used to identify little problems before they become bigger problems: screws and fasteners left by HVAC maintenance personnel, open covers on roof-top mechanical equipment, a quick check of flashing systems and penetrations. “It’s simple, easy and inexpensive, but well worth the investment of time and resources. We find that this simple activity reduces roof leaks in most cases by more than 50 percent.”

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watertight roofs

PHOTO COURTESY OF NICK APERGIS

Before the Ink Is Dry

wireless infrastructure

PHOTO © FRANCESCO SCATENA

11/01/2016: “Before the Ink Is Dry” article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the November 2016 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine.


Wireless networks have become a requirement in teaching and learning. As soon as school districts obtain 100 percent wireless connectivity in every classroom, it quickly becomes time to develop plans for upgrading the wireless infrastructure.

Federal and state support for accelerating the implementation of wireless local area networks (WLAN) in public education has generated encouraging results in our nation’s schools, particularly over the past three years. In its 2015 infrastructure survey, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) reported, “Only one percent of school systems reported that high schools did not have wireless access compared to 13 percent for middle and 10 percent for elementary schools. This is significant progress from 2013 when school systems reported that 43 percent of high schools and 36 percent of middle schools did not have wireless connectivity in the classroom.” No doubt, the modernization of the E-rate program has been a major factor providing school districts with resources to implement WLAN infrastructure.

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wireless infrastructure

PHOTO © CLS DIGITAL ARTS

Kicking the Can Down the Road

Deferred Maintenance

10/01/2016: “Kicking the Can Down the Road” article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the October 2016 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine.

Image courtesy of School  Planning Section of NC DPI.


 

There is no better source of information regarding the overall condition of school buildings than with the school district’s maintenance department. The challenge is gathering the information efficiently and developing consistent reports to support funding requests.

A year ago, school districts in North Carolina received directives to fill out the 2015-16 Facility Needs Survey, which is required by state law every five years. The report is used by state and local government to monitor and track funding requirements for public school facilities. Construction and renovation needs for North Carolina schools totaled $8.1 billion dollars over a five-year time horizon. Several states have similar programs compelling local school officials to identify their maintenance backlog and assign prioritized cost estimates. Dr. Ken Phelps, with North Carolina’s school planning section says, “The need to keep track of deferred maintenance is significant in many of our school districts. It is our hope that the facility needs report provides a structure which districts can utilize each year to support requests for funding.”

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NC statewide facilities needs

Nailed It This Summer

09/02/16: “Nailed It This Summer” article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group  in the September 2016 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine.

Photos courtesy of Andrew LaRowe


This is the time of year school districts look forward to the completion of many of their facility projects. New schools, additions, or major renovations that have been in various stages of development over a course of many years are at long last ready to open their doors. At the same time, smaller capital improvement projects were squeezed into the summer vacation and are set to finish just before the return of teachers and students.

Facilities administrators are consumed with punch lists and working through the details of project completion and before they know it, they are onto the next round of projects without taking a moment to evaluate what they have just experienced and attempt to gain something from it, Leadership in the practice of facilities planning, design, and construction requires the vision to not only see what the completed project will look like and how it will ultimately be used, but also the ability to identify the likely pitfalls along the way.

Process mapping is increasingly used to visualize the workflow. This is more than a resource-loaded Gantt chart. It is a diagram of each activity and decision point within the project. A generic map can be annotated for each specific project. Another technique for risk management is an in-house pre-mortem that identifies what could possibly go wrong on each specific project and how it will be addressed including proposed schedule and budget.

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Technology and Collaboration, Chicken or Egg?

Male Elementary Pupil In Computer Class

12/1/2015: “Technology and Collaboration, Chicken or Egg?” article by Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the December 2015 issue of School Planning and Management Magazinehttps://webspm.com/articles/2015/12/01/learning-collaboration.aspx

Wires Crossed

Wires Crossed

11/1/2015: “Wires Crossed” article by Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the November 2015 issue of School Planning and Management Magazinehttps://webspm.com/articles/2015/11/01/connectivity.aspx

Wires02x218   Wires04x218

State Law in North Carolina Requires Districts to Submit Facilities Needs Survey Jan. 1, 2016

Every five years the State of North Carolina requires school districts to estimate the dollars needed for new construction, additions or renovations to existing facilities. In a few weeks the Division of School Planning will be sending a notice to Superintendents about this report. As in previous years, School Planning will provide each district a compact disc containing a current list of schools, 2015/2016 first month ADM for each school, and DPI’s 10 year membership projections.

North Carolina ReportBAISCA has significant experience with every component of the Facilities Needs Survey. We can help you collect all the necessary information and fill out the forms in compliance with the State’s requirements.

It makes no difference where your district is currently with Long-Range Facilities Planning, our process will integrate available information from:

  • Prior Facilities Needs Surveys
  • Existing Facilities Planning Documents
  • Interviews with Maintenance and Key Staff

Learn more about how BAISCA is prepared to help your school district meet North Carolina G. S. 115C-521(a)


About BAISCA

BAISCA specializes in the collection of data and the development of reports related to facility issues in school districts. Our field technicians will visit each school, or selection of schools, within a district to collect data about a specific building component or issue. A summary report ready for the Board or Leadership Staff is delivered to the district immediately following the collection of field data along with all backup data in electronic format.

Where’s My Owner’s Manual?

5/1/2015: “Where’s My Owner’s Manual?” article by Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in May 2015 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine, http://webspm.com/articles/2015/05/01/understanding-technology.aspx

How Technology is Reshaping Instructional Space

2/1/2015: “How Technology is Reshaping Instructional Space”Article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in February 2015 Issue of School Planning and Management Magazine http://webspm.com/articles/2015/02/01/technology-instructional-space.aspx

 

Attention Wall Mount Shoppers

12/1/2014 “Attention Wall Mount Shoppers” Article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in December 2014 issue of School Planning and Management Magazinehttp://webspm.com/articles/2014/12/01/audio-visual-technology.aspx

Unintended Consequences

10/1/2014: “Unintended Consequences” Article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in October 2014 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine, http://webspm.com/articles/2014/10/01/educational-facilities-design.aspx

Net Zero and Beyond

7/1/2014: “Net Zero and Beyond” Article by BAISCA’s BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in July 2014 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine, page 12, http://webspm.com/Articles/2014/07/01/Net-Zero.aspx

Integrating Technology and Controls

6/1/2014: “Integrating Technology and Controls” Article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe in June 2014 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine, page 23,  http://webspm.com/Articles/2014/06/01/Integrating-Technology-Controls.aspx

 

 

 

The Faster You Go, The Behinder You Get

5/1/2014: “The Faster You Go The Behinder You Get” Article by BAISCA’s Andrew Larowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in May 2014 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine, page 16, http://webspm.com/articles/2014/05/01/equitable-opportunities.aspx

Charged Up and Read to Learn

3/1/2014: “Charged Up and Ready to Learn” Article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in March 2014 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine, http://webspm.com/Articles/2014/03/01/School-Buildings-Connectivity.aspx

E-Rate Funding

1/1/2014: “E-Rate Funding” Article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible of  The School Solutions Group in the January 2014 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine, page 12 http://webspm.com/articles/2014/01/01/erate-funding.aspx

5 Essential Questions to Ask About Mobile Classrooms

Mobile Classrooms
Temporary classroom structures are a valuable tool for facility administrators in public school districts.  Unfortunately, reliance on mobiles can lead to long term cost issues and impact safety and security programs.
1. How many are there and how long have they been in place?  Descriptive terms like “temporary”, “mobile” and “portable” may not apply.  Sort the list of mobile units at your school district by age.  You may be surprised how many were placed into use as far back as the 70’s and the 80’s.
2. What is the current capacity and utilization of permanent school facilities?  Student assignment policies heavily impact the need for “temporary” classrooms.  School Boards often avoid or delay redistricting resulting in overcrowded schools and underutilized schools sometimes being in close proximity to each other.
3. What is the “core” capacity of the school? The cafeteria, gymnasiums, auditoriums, media centers, and administrative offices are designed to accommodate a specific number of students.  Adding “temporary” classrooms becomes disproportionate to the main building creating bottlenecks, efficiency and safety issues.
4. What are the total costs of acquiring, installing, and maintaining “temporary” classrooms?  Mobiles are required to meet building codes and ADA accessibility requirements.  Along with standard utility connections for heating, air conditioning, lighting, water and sewer, they also must be tied into fire and security alarms, intercom communications, and classroom technology systems.
5. In response to tragedies that occurred in New Town, Connecticut and Moore, Oklahoma, school districts are looking for ways to control visitor access and reduce vulnerability.

Sounds Good

10/01/13: “Sounds Good” Article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe & Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group in the October 2013 issue of School Planning & Management. To read online: http://webspm.com/articles/2013/10/01/voice-amplification-systems.aspx 

 

Time to Improve

9/1/2013: “Time To Improve” Article by Andrew LaRowe and Mike Raible in September 2013 issue of School Planning and Management Magazine, page 33 http://webspm.com/Articles/2013/12/01/Time-to-Improve.aspx

Energy Wise

07/01/13: “Energy Wise” article by BAISCA’s Andrew LaRowe & Mike Raible of The School Solutions Group published in the July 2013 issue of School Planning & Management. To read online, go to http://webspm.com/articles/2013/07/01/energy-wise.aspx Read more