Map: How Safe Are California Schools?

Many schools are located near fault lines or other earthquake hazards. That doesn't mean they'll collapse in a quake, but some school construction projects have failed to follow basic safety standards.

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Are you concerned about the seismic safety of your child's school?

About This Project

On Shaky Ground is the result of a 19-month investigation into seismic safety of California public schools, uncovering some serious cracks in the system. The project was conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting, with additional reporting by The Califoria Report and KQED News.

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An investigation into the seismic safety of California's public schools.

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From The California Report and KQED Public Radio

Forum | Friday, Apr 15, 2016, 9:30 AM

Battles Over Government Access to Data Heats Up as Microsoft Sues DOJ

Microsoft has filed suit against the Department of Justice over requests for customer information, saying people have a right to know when the government gets a warrant to read their emails. Microsoft says it has received more than 5600 federal demands for data in the past 18 months, and in nearly half, the government forbade Microsoft from informing the customer. The suit comes as Congress wades into the issue with a bill that would require tech companies to provide access to data when served by a court order.

The California Report | Friday, Dec 09, 2011, 8:50 AM

Audit Finds Schools May Not Be Earthquake-Safe

California's state auditor has found that oversight of safety standards on school construction meant to improve seismic safety has been ineffective and incomplete. The findings mirror an investigation earlier this year by The California Report and California Watch.

The California Report | Thursday, Apr 28, 2011, 8:50 AM

State to Free Up Money for School Seismic Safety

State regulators say they'll make it easier for public schools to access seismic retrofit funds. The move will free up tens of millions of dollars to retrofit older schools across California that are considered especially vulnerable in a strong quake.

The California Report | Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011, 8:50 AM

Who's Inspecting the Inspectors of School Safety Projects?

Over the last few days, the California Report and California Watch have been sharing the results of their joint investigation on the safety of public schools in earthquake country. Among other things, "On Shaky Ground" reveals limited oversight of the inspectors key to enforcing seismic standards on school construction projects.

Forum | Monday, Apr 11, 2011, 9:30 AM

California Schools 'On Shaky Ground'

After more than 18 months of research, KQED News and California Watch have released a new investigative series: "On Shaky Ground." The series examines how the state has failed to enforce seismic safety laws in public schools. We talk with two reporters who worked on the project about their findings, and about the response the series is getting thus far.

The California Report | Monday, Apr 11, 2011, 8:50 AM

Schools Needing Retrofits Say 'Show Us the Money'

Five years ago, California voters set aside $199 million in bond money to shore-up seismically unsafe school buildings. But the state has made it virtually impossible for districts to access the funds, meaning few schools have been reviewed -- and even fewer have been fixed.[Our story was produced in collaboration with California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, and was reported with Corey Johnson, Krissy Clark and Erica Perez.]

KQED News | Friday, Apr 08, 2011, 5:30 PM

On Shaky Ground: A School Accesses Funds for Seismic Retrofits

In the Bay Area alone, there are about 1,600 older buildings listed on a state inventory as potentially hazardous. But Piedmont Unified is one of the only districts in the state that has been able to access voter-approved funds for seismic retrofits. We talk with Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Michael Brady, who worked to secure $1 million in state matching funds for Piedmont High School.

The California Report | Friday, Apr 08, 2011, 8:50 AM

Lack of Oversight, Sloppy Record Keeping Raise Concerns About School Safety

Watching a series of disasters bring Japan to its knees, it's hard to ignore the fact that we, too, live in earthquake country. The California Report teamed up with California Watch to investigate the way our state regulates seismic safety in public school construction. What we found are cracks in the system that raise troubling questions about the safety of thousands of students and teachers.

Lax Regulations Raise Doubts About School Safety

State regulators have routinely failed to enforce California's landmark earthquake safety law for public schools, allowing children and teachers to occupy buildings with structural flaws and potential safety hazards reported during construction.

Troubled School Inspectors Slip Through State's Oversight

Nearly 300 inspectors have been cited by the state for work-related deficiencies, overlooking unsafe wiring connections, unsecured anchor bolts, faulty framing, and flaws in steel frames that "could have resulted in extremely unsafe buildings."

Under Pressure, State Redrew Quake Hazard Maps

Some California schools found itself in a fault hazard zone one day, and gone the next. This loosening of state standards appears to have come amid pressure from property owners, real estate agents and local government officials who feared property values would decline.


What kind of damage can we expect from a 3.0 earthquake? What about a 7.2? It all depends on where you are.

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