In the recently completed legislative session, the 83rd Texas Legislature passed bills that will dramatically affect the public school system and the way we currently educate our students. Most notably were bills that provided for an increase in the State’s charter school system, reduced the amount of standardized testing, expanded vocational training opportunities for high school graduates, and restored $3.9 billion that was cut two years ago to the state’s school funding budget. Ramtech has been following all of these changes very closely, to see what their impact will be on both relocatable and permanent modular construction.
There are currently 500 charter school campuses in Texas associated with the 209 charters that have been granted. These campuses educate more than 154,000 children, approximately three percent of the five million public school students in the state. Additionally, it is estimated that over 100,000 students from across the state are on waiting lists to gain entry into a charter school. The recently passed Senate Bill 2 will increase the number of charter schools from 209 to 305 by 2019. It should be noted that while many charter schools perform very highly, some charters have low academic ratings and the legislation will allow for state monitors to close down these poor performing schools. One of the challenges with expanding the number of new charter holders and providing for the growth in existing charters is finding adequate classroom space. Since public funding for school facilities is not currently available to charter schools, new charter schools usually have to modify existing commercial lease space or work with a contractor like Ramtech to design and construct modular school buildings to meet their facility needs. These modular buildings can be either temporary or permanent and typically provide space for classrooms, administrative offices, lunchrooms, libraries, and computer and science labs. Temporary modular buildings are relocatable and can be leased or purchased while permanent modular buildings are very similar to site constructed buildings but are much less expensive and can be completed faster.
Gary White is Vice President of Sales & Estimating at Ramtech Building Systems, Inc. He has been in the commercial modular industry for 33 years and is responsible for the management of all sales and estimating efforts across each of Ramtech’s key market segments: Education, Government, Medical, and Commercial.