Skip to content
Quick Start for:
Chapter 3

This chapter reviews Rosebud-Lott Independent School District (RLISD) facilities use and management in the following sections:

A. Facilities Planning
B. Plant Maintenance and Custodial Operations
C. Energy Management


RLISD's facilities operations include maintenance of the physical plant, grounds, water and wastewater systems, buildings and vehicles. Exhibit 3-4 depicts the district's facilities operations maintenance organization.

Exhibit 3-4
RLISD Facilities Operations
Maintenance Organization

 RLISD Facilities Operations
Source: Interviews with RLISD, 2002.

The Plant Maintenance director reports to the superintendent and repairs or replaces all equipment and building materials. He also monitors construction and remodeling projects, performs security-related duties and manages the high school's water and wastewater system with the help of two full-time employees.

The Transportation director reports to the superintendent and coordinates vehicle maintenance and repairs and grounds maintenance. He is also a trained mechanic and supervises another mechanic to repair and maintain the district's vehicles. The grounds maintenance crew clean and maintain the districts grounds. They also help clean and maintain the district's vehicles. The director of Transportation also supervises the grounds maintenance crew.

The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors routinely communicate with principals about each school's maintenance needs.

Exhibit 3-5 presents the organization of Building Maintenance.

Exhibit 3-5
RLISD Building Maintenance Organization

 Building Maintenance Organization
Source: Interviews with RLISD, 2002.
*Includes Junior High School

The district assigns 10 custodial personnel as follows: five custodians to the junior and high school; two to the elementary school; one to the primary; and one to the intermediate. An additional custodian divides his time among the primary and intermediate schools and the PEP center. The PEP center custodian spends only a few hours a week at the PEP Center and the rest of the time assisting staff at Rosebud's primary and intermediate campuses. The principals at each school supervise the custodial work.


The RLISD custodial staff clean more than 208,000 square feet spread among five schools housed in four district-owned facilities. Exhibit 3-6 presents the district's facilities with square footage for cleaning purposes, industry standard applied to square footage and current custodial allocations. One custodian is responsible for 20,000 square feet under industry standards. Each RLISD custodian maintains nearly 21,000 square feet.

Exhibit 3-6
RLISD Facilities Square Footage Custodial Allocation

Number of
Custodians to meet
1:20,000 sq. ft. ratio
High School 102,697 5.1 5
Lott Elementary 35,500 1.8 2
Rosebud Intermediate 39,757 2 1.5
Rosebud Primary 27,743 1.4 1.4
PEP Center* 2,400 0.1 0.1
Total 208,097 10.4 10
Source: RLISD Business Office, 2002; Rogers Consulting Company interviews, 2002-03.
*The district assigns one custodian to the PEP center and divides the rest of the time between Rosebud's primary and intermediate campuses.

The review team noted polished floors and trash-free hallways while visiting several campuses.


RLISD maintains a clean district by applying industry standards to efficiently assign custodians.


RLISD does not have formal training or continuing education programs for its Maintenance employees and managers. Regional Education Service Center XII (Region 12) publishes an annual review of district staff development called the Staff Development District Detail Report. Region 12's report for the period August 1, 2000 through November 14, 2002 shows that RLISD maintenance employees did not attend any of the training workshops offered in that time period.

According to Maintenance and custodial management staff, employees receive in-house, on-the-job training. The district does not keep written documentation of in-house training. Through interviews the review team also learned that the district does not offer in-house computer training to maintenance and custodial staff and management.

In addition, the district does not document formal cross training for the maintenance and custodial functions. The lack of a qualified backup for the Plant Maintenance director creates a high-risk situation for the district. The Plant Maintenance director is the only school employee licensed to operate the water and wastewater systems. If he leaves the district or is unable to work for an extended period of time, there is no backup staff or plan in place.

Maintenance-training programs for all maintenance and custodial employees should include the following topics:

  • technical maintenance techniques;
  • effective work scheduling;
  • interdepartmental communication skills;
  • customer communication skills;
  • professional skill development for each trade;
  • work habits;
  • time management;
  • quality control; and
  • safety initiatives.

Some school districts provide $250 worth of continuing education classes per maintenance employee per year. The Texas Engineering Extension Service offers a class called "The Principles of Managing Maintenance" and is one of many vendors that offer maintenance classes.

Recommendation 16:

Offer annual training for maintenance and custodial staff.

District management should provide training opportunities for all maintenance and custodial staff and their managers. The program should have annual goals and objectives and include sufficient funding so that each employee can attend at least one course annually.

1. The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors investigate maintenance training opportunities with outside vendors and speak with Region 12 about the possibility of developing a training program curriculum. June 2003
2. The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors compile a list of training choices with pricing and schedules, choose the top ranking options and present training recommendations to the superintendent for approval. July 2003
3. The superintendent submits the training program and budget to the board for approval. August 2003
4. The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors and principals initiate the training program. September 2003


The cost to implement this recommendation would amount to $5,460 annually assuming RLISD chooses the Texas Engineering Extension Service class called "The Principles of Managing Maintenance." This class includes eight one-hour segments on various topics suitable for both staff and management.

The cost estimate assumes one eight-hour training course for four principals and all 17 maintenance personnel at a cost of $260 per person per year (four principals + 17 maintenance staff = 21 total staff. 21 total staff x $260 per person per eight-hour training class = $5,460).

In addition, the review team spoke with Region 12 and learned that they currently do not offer maintenance training, but are available to work with RLISD to define its maintenance training needs and develop courses. The Region 12 specialist also indicated that they would offer reduced rates if the class is large enough.

Recommendation 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08
Offer annual training for maintenance and custodial staff. ($5,460) ($5,460) ($5,460) ($5,460) ($5,460)


RLISD does not have a system to track work orders. Teachers and administrators e-mail their repair requests to the Plant Maintenance director. The district does not have a standard work order request form. The Plant Maintenance director sets the priority for responding to the requests. Urgent requests receive top priority.

The Plant Maintenance director inspects and analyzes the job or equipment that needs repair, including material and equipment requirements. The Plant Maintenance director also handles pricing information and bid quotes. The Plant Maintenance director provides the superintendent with a repair summary and cost estimate to present to the board for major repairs that will cost more than $1,000. The Plant Maintenance director notifies the superintendent about major repairs that will cost more than $5,000 prior to obtaining bid quotes.

The Plant Maintenance director inspects all finished contracted work. He notifies the business office when work is completed for payment. The business office retains the file on materials purchased and payments to contractors.

The director, upon request by the superintendent, presents verbal updates to the board. The superintendent provides the Board of Trustees with background information on any on-going projects before scheduled meetings.

TSPR surveys of district administrators, parents, teachers and students show substantial satisfaction with the quality of work performed by the Plant Maintenance Department. However, RLISD does not document its work order history. The Plant Maintenance director is the longest-tenured school staff employee followed by the Transportation director. This lack of documentation creates an unstable environment, especially in this operational area. Without documentation the district will lose important knowledge when the directors retire or otherwise leave the district. In addition, there is no way to measure the success or failure of the department's decisions using work performance standards or cost comparisons.

An efficient and effective maintenance operation for a school district includes well-defined procedures and processes that include:

  • adequate information to plan and manage daily maintenance operations;
  • a good work order system that enables maintenance staff to respond to repair requests;
  • a proactive system (preventive maintenance) that ensures maintenance staff regularly service equipment to minimize down time; and
  • a process to monitor maintenance service levels and obtain periodic feedback on maintenance operations that need improvement.

School districts find it more difficult to plan and budget for preventive maintenance or equipment replacement if they cannot track maintenance records. For this reason, maintenance departments in proactive districts typically keep itemized records of all work performed, the workers involved, the number of hours worked, materials used and associated costs. Most keep maintenance records on individual pieces of equipment as well; these records can assist districts in the budget process and in determining equipment replacement needs.

Recommendation 17:

Develop an automated work order system and use labor and cost data to monitor productivity and track costs.

RLISD's director of Technology should develop a spreadsheet as a work order system. This system will enable RLISD's Maintenance Department to automate work order logs to facilitate prioritizing, tracking and preparing cost estimates for maintenance requests. The automated log will enable the Plant Maintenance director to establish performance standards and assess thresholds for contracting specific projects such as large paint, carpentry and plumbing projects to outside contractors.

Once the system is fully implemented, management will be able to establish performance standards for jobs such as replacing air conditioning filters, installing flooring or completing roofing jobs. With predetermined performance standards, the district can monitor the work of Maintenance employees to ensure that the department delivers high quality and cost-effective services.

1. The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors and principals work with the director of Technology to refine the design of the spreadsheet format for automating work order requests. June 2003
2. The director of Technology completes the refinement of the work order system. July 2003
3. The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors and principals use management reports from the automated work order logs to analyze data, such as labor and material cost and work backlog. July 2003
4. The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors and principals develop and monitor Plant Maintenance Department performance standards in order to improve the department's productivity. August 2003 and Ongoing
5. The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors and principals provide the superintendent with periodic reports detailing the maintenance department's operations. September 2003 and Quarterly


This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.


The district does not have a formal maintenance program on equipment and facilities. Maintenance personnel informally maintain RLISD's equipment and facilities. Maintenance directors and staff do not routinely keep preventive maintenance records. Since 1997-98, the vehicle and grounds equipment maintenance records are missing; the district assumes these records have been lost. Most maintenance records are hand-written and not organized. As a result, the review team could not determine whether the district performed emergency or preventive maintenance. District staff indicated that they do not have established procedures for conducting preventive maintenance. The district schedules vehicle and facility preventive maintenance during the winter and summer breaks when school is not in session.

The Plant Maintenance director follows the manufacturer's suggested preventive maintenance schedule for photocopiers. He also replaces all air conditioning filters every six months or sooner if they rate three or above in a scale of condition. The scale ranks the filters from one for good condition to five for bad condition.

Private sector industry tests have shown replacing failing parts is significantly cheaper than repairing equipment after the parts fail. Early detection and maintenance programs that proactively repair and maintain equipment do not increase maintenance costs. In fact, these programs will cause maintenance costs to drop as system reliability improves.

Effective maintenance departments establish annual and multi-year schedules for maintenance. These departments keep databases of projects by year and costs. A tracking system allows departments to develop better long-term maintenance budgets.

Another effective maintenance program is to have organized maintenance crews that visit schools at least once a year and perform preventive maintenance and low priority work orders. These crews include members who have mechanical, electrical, carpentry, painting and plumbing expertise. They make non-emergency repairs to upgrade facilities.

Effective preventive maintenance programs contain the following characteristics: a list of equipment and maintenance requirements; a timeline schedule for completion of projects; and inspection and maintenance procedures.

Exhibit 3-7 presents a sample preventive maintenance program. The "Xs" in the columns indicate the recommended inspection and repair time interval for maintenance in the various repair categories.

Exhibit 3-7
A Sample Preventive Maintenance Program
Area Component Inspection
and Repair
(3-6 Month Intervals)
and Repair Annually
and Repair
(2-5 Year Intervals)
and Replacement
(7-10 Year Intervals)
and Replacement
(12-15 Years)
Exterior Roof   X     X
Roof Drainage   X      
Windows and Glass   X      
Masonry   X      
Foundations   X      
Joints and Sealants   X   X  
Equipment Belts and Filters X        
Motors and Fans X        
Pipes and Fittings X        
Ductwork   X      
Electrical Controls   X      
Heating Equip. X        
Air conditioning Equip. X        
Interior Doors and Hardware   X      
Wall Finishes   X   X  
Floor Finishes   X   X  
Site Parking and Walks   X      
Drainage   X      
Landscaping X        
Play Equipment X        
Source: Developed by TSPR.

Recommendation 18:

Adopt a preventative maintenance program that provides regularly scheduled reviews on all facilities and equipment.

The Plant Maintenance director should develop the maintenance program along with a detailed preventive maintenance schedule for all facilities and equipment. This program should also establish timeline for completing maintenance projects.

The district should develop reports that provide district administrators with data pertaining to the preventive maintenance program. The superintendent should use these reports to make management decisions on whether to increase the preventive maintenance efforts.

1. The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors and principals develop and submit a preventive maintenance program that targets all RLISD facilities and equipment to the superintendent for approval. June 2003
2. Upon the superintendent's approval, the Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors and principals implement the preventive maintenance program. July 2003
3. The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors and principals provide the superintendent with reports detailing preventive maintenance activities. Ongoing
4. The Plant Maintenance and Transportation directors, principals and superintendent use the reports to determine when adjustments to programs are needed. Ongoing


This recommendation can be implemented with existing resources.