A new survey from the National Center for Education Statistics finds that more than half the nation's public schools need to be repaired, renovated or modernized.

This report says it would cost about $197 billion to get the schools in good condition, for an average of $4.5 million per school.

But Grand Rapids Public Schools spokesman John Helmholdt scoffs at such a low figure. Helmholdt tells WOOD Radio the district has had to focus what little money it has on classrooms, so there has not been money for infrastructure such as windows, pipes, and heating.

These are things he calls "basic, that are in desperate need of improvement." Helmholdt says the needs go beyond bricks and mortar.

"The technology, the wiring, the design, everything around it must be aligned for 21st century teaching and learning." In that light, he says Ottawa Hills and Union High Schools will need "tens of millions of dollars" to renovate.

He says Grand Rapids Central High School, the oldest still functioning high school in Michigan, would need more than ten times the average money in that report.