Nothing will ever take Arizona back to the great school construction boom of the early 2000s. From 1999 to 2007, the Arizona Schools Facilities Board, the organization that distributes funds for school districts to build new schools or make improvements to existing facilities, provided funding for 219 new schools. Then, as those in the commercial real estate world remember, the economy faltered and very little new building occurred. In fact, from 2008 to 2016, the ASFB provided funds for just three new schools.
Part of the problem is that the funding formula that the ASFB uses to determine how much money a new project will receive remained the same, while the cost of construction went up, leaving districts with a funding gap that they would have to fill through ballot measures. Up until the 2016 election, the vast majority of district bond measures that were on ballots across the state did not pass, meaning no new schools would be built.
“If a district qualifies, the Arizona School Facilities Board can provide some funding for new educational spaces,” said Barry Chasse, owner of Chasse Building Team, a company that is active in education construction. “However, their current funding formula is completely inadequate to build a new school…let alone a state-of-the-art school.”