Chinese officials acknowledged that inferior construction may have contributed to the collapse of more than 1,000 schools in Sichuan province during May’s earthquake, the Wall Street Journal reported. "More than 1,000 schools had various problems," said Ma Zongjin, director of the National Wenchuan Earthquake Expert Committee. "Their structure wasn’t necessarily entirely rational, their materials weren’t necessarily very strong." Questions about school construction are among the most politically sensitive issues in the wake of the earthquake. Sichuan officials have offered families who lost children in the quake compensation in the form of a one-time US$8,500 payment and additional funds at retirement. In July, Beijing said it would spend US$332 million specifically to aid in rebuilding and renovating schools in quake-hit areas.