GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - It doesn't take long for Greg Gilliam to point out the problems at William Jack Elementary School in Glendale.

Inside there are cracks in the floor and on the walls.

Outside, it's more of the same with cracks near the base of a building and doors that are hard to open.

At one point during his tour of the decades-old campus, Gilliam, who oversees maintenance for the Glendale Elementary School District, explains the metal slats bolted to the walls.

[WATCH: This Glendale school is one of many in AZ that needs money for repairs]

"The engineers felt that there was a risk of the wall panels actually falling out if a strong wind like a microburst or something would hit it," he said.

The school is still safe and operational, according to district officials.

And they would know because the district has seen worse.

Three years ago, the district temporarily closed two schools, during the school year, for repairs.

[READ MORE: 2 Glendale schools reopen after emergency repairs (Oct. 10, 2016)]

The district has since joined a lawsuit with other school districts and education officials alleging the state funding for school construction and maintenance is too low and unconstitutional.

The problems facing William Jack Elementary and other schools in the district are not limited to Glendale.

We sent questionnaires to schools throughout state, asking them about their maintenance and construction needs.

[SPECIAL SECTION: State of Our Schools, The Search for Solutions]

More than 100 schools and districts responded, detailing hundreds of millions of dollars in needed repairs and projects they can't afford to pay for.

Mike Barragan, assistant superintendent for finance for the Glendale Elementary School District, says his districts alone needs as much as $55 million for repairs and upgrades to his 17 schools.

Some of that money is needed for books, computers and other supplies, he said. But the bulk of the money is needed for repairs and other construction projects.

[RELATED: Recruiting teachers, family involvement top challenges for AZ schools]

"Some of our schools were built in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s and in our opinion, we believe they have exceeded their useful life span," Barragan said.

He wants to School Facilities Board to pony up the money to replace the older schools in his district.

The state Legislature and the governor appropriated $80 million for building maintenance for the entire state.

At the same time, state leaders allocated another $76 million to build seven new schools, which, taken together, is not even close to the amount money needed to keep up with all of Arizona's school needs.

But even the money that is available, it is not making its way to the schools fast enough.

"I sure would like to know where the log jam is in that," said Gov. Doug Ducey. "I am hearing some of this feedback of that there's (sic) dollars there and allocated, but it's not getting out to the school or the superintendent. That's something I'd like to resolve immediately."

A recent state audit slammed the school facilities board, the group that decides which schools get money for construction and repairs.

The report shows hundreds of school repairs were delayed, posing a health and safety risk.

The executive director of the school facilities board, Paul Bakalis, declined to comment for this story.

Meanwhile, Barragan is challenging the governor, who has made a political career out of cutting business red tape, to do the same for school funding.

"It's just the government red tape that has slowed the process down and has made it somewhat challenging for our district," he said.

 


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