August 12th, 2010
11:15 AM ET

$3.7 billion sought for repairs at military base schools

The Seoul American Elementary School in South Korea is among those seeking repairs.

Most of the U.S. Defense Department’s schools are in such a bad state as a result of years of neglect and deferred maintenance that the Pentagon is urgently seeking almost $4 billion for repairs and replacements, said the civilian agency that oversees the schools on military bases.

In all, 70 percent of schools for Defense Department dependents were rated as under-maintained or failing, the Department of Defense Education Activity said this week. It is asking for $3.7 billion in repairs and upgrades over the next five years for its 134 school facilities across the world.

Almost half of Department of Defense Education Activity schools have facilities that are 45 years or older. “What’s happening now behind the walls that people can’t see, the electrical systems are 50 years old, the roofs are leaking …,” said Kevin Kelly, associate director of the civilian agency's financial and business operations.

There simply wasn’t enough money to upkeep all the schools, Kelly said. “We were getting funding to take care of one school, maybe two schools a year, and our schools were aging too fast and problems were being caused,” he said in a video statement.

Problems range from aging plumbing that has resulted in a stench, to roaming rats at the Seoul American Middle School, military newspaper Stars and Stripes reported. Conditions there prompted $600,000 in repairs this summer, according to the paper.

The Department of Defense Education Activity has 191 school facilities and serves more than 84,000 children of military service members and Defense Department civilian employees.

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Filed under: Education • Military
soundoff (2 Responses)

    We need to close the foreign bases instead of pouring $$$ into foreign countries! Most of them only want our money and flip us off after getting it!

    August 13, 2010 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jacqueline O'Connor

    We need to cut the federal budget beginning with the military which spends over $1 trillion (trillion) dollars every year (you have to search out all the other department budgets hiding DoD dollars like Homeland Security, Agriculture (yes), CIA, etc.) To have separate schools in the U.S. for military families is unwise segregation and needless spending.

    December 16, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |