Hundreds of Schools Vulnerable to Quakes: Report

San Diego school districts lax on safety inspections

About 200 school buildings in San Diego may be unsafe in an earthquake, according to an investigative report by KPBS and our media partner, Voice of San Diego.

State experts flagged hundreds of local schools nearly a decade ago as being possible risks during an earthquake. But only a third of those schools have been reviewed, repaired or demolished, the report found.

Nearly half of those buildings are in South Bay Union School District, which failed to check about 100 of its buildings for seismic safety.

Though many of schools are on the state’s list of vulnerable lists, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are unsafe – they just haven’t been inspected, despite state warning signs.

Districts blame the state. State inspectors estimated the California schools’ modifications would cost almost $4.7 billion. However, lawmakers only allotted $200 million for those repairs.

The state also lagged in getting schools information about the possible seismic safety problems, district officials said. State architects sent school districts a letter urging them to get more inspections, but didn’t say which schools needed a second look, or how to go about making the necessary repairs.

Districts and state architects exchanged letters over the next several years. In the letters, the schools appeared to be struggling with the demands of the state, which they felt hadn’t provided them with the necessary resources to fix the unsafe buildings.

Read the full story about school districts’ struggle to modify their buildings here.

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