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KPCC correction: Backlogged school repairs less than originally reported



Christopher Cadena climbs in a hole five-feet deep, unearthing  a leaking water main that feeds the fire sprinkler system at Hoover Street Elementary School. A backlog of repair requests show plumbing problems plague many campuses.
Christopher Cadena climbs in a hole five-feet deep, unearthing a leaking water main that feeds the fire sprinkler system at Hoover Street Elementary School. A backlog of repair requests show plumbing problems plague many campuses.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

A KPCC story published on Sept. 18 grossly misstated the scope of backlogged repairs at Los Angeles Unified schools.

Due to an error in data analysis, KPCC reported more than 116,000 repair requests filed by school staff since the beginning of the year were waiting – nearly two-thirds of those requests received.

In fact, a re-analysis of the data shows the backlog is about a third of requests – more than 37,000 repair tickets. Of those unaddressed problems, more than 200 concern fire safety systems, rather than the roughly 1,400 KPCC had previously reported.

The district has acknowledged a significant problem with backlogged school site repairs. Maintenance officials said they’d need four times the money spent on repairs this year to keep up.

For this project, KPCC received three different batches of data from L.A. Unified School District.

The error occurred when writing the code to analyze that data. An incorrect word in the code led to the incorrect determination that 113,502 work orders submitted in 2014 were incomplete.

On Monday, school district officials emailed to ask how KPCC arrived at the numbers. After reviewing our responses, they said they came up with vastly different numbers.

KPCC re-analyzed the data in light of that information and uncovered the error. The mistake also slightly changes the average wait time, which was reported in a chart. The average time it took to fix a problem was 71 days, not 88.

There are still small discrepancies between the data supplied by L.A. Unified and the totals supplied by school officials Monday. They said 37,902 repairs from 2014 are incomplete. KPCC’s new analysis shows 39,099 are incomplete – in part because the last data set sent over by L.A. Unified omitted about 1,000 repair requests that were contained in data supplied this summer.

KPCC regrets the errors.