SCHOOL CLOSURE, CONSOLIDATION, AND CO-LOCATION
Information compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities discussing the closing of school buildings, and the consolidation or co-location of schools.
References to Books and Other Media
Transforming Philadelphia’s Public Schools. Key Findings and Recommendations
(Boston Consulting Group, Aug 2012)
A management firm has concluded that the Philadelphia school district should close between 29 and 57 schools in the next five years. 120p
Quality Schools: Every Child, Every School, Every Neighborhood. An Analysis of School Location and Performance in Washington, D.C.
(Illinois Facility Fund, Jan 2012)
Study recommends that Washington, D.C., overhaul or close more than three dozen traditional public schools in its poorest neighborhoods and expand the number of high-performing charter schools. After explaining the research methodology, the study provides a district-wide analysis, with findings and recommendations. Includes maps and tables. 80p
Closing Public Schools in Philadelphia: Lessons from Six Urban Districts.
(Pew Charitable Trusts, Philadelphia Research Initiative, Oct 19, 2011)
This report looks at six cities that have engaged in large-scale public school closings in the past decade—Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Mo., Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Washington—to better understand what is in store for Philadelphia. With nearly one-third of its seats sitting empty, 70,000 in all, the School District of Philadelphia plans to close multiple buildings over the next two years. In doing so, Philadelphia will be following in the footsteps of cities throughout the Northeast and Midwest. The factors prompting the closings, in Philadelphia as in the other cities, include a dwindling population of school-age children, mounting budget pressures, deteriorating facilities, poor academic performance, and the growth of charter schools and other alternatives that have lessened the demand for traditional public-school education.
Closing Schools in a Shrinking District: Does Student Performance Depend on Which Schools Are Closed?
Engberg, John; Epple, Dennis; Gill, Brian; Sieg, Holger; Zamarro, Gema; Zimmer, Ron
(Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Oct 10, 2011)
In the last decade, many cities around the country have needed to close schools due to declining enrollments and low achievement. School closings raise concerns about the possible negative impacts on student achievement, neighborhoods, families, and teaching staff. This study examines an anonymous urban district that, faced with declining enrollment, chose to make student achievement a major criterion in determining which schools would be closed. The district targeted low-performing schools in its closure plan, and sought to move their students to higher-performing schools. We estimate the impact of school closures on student test scores and attendance rates by comparing the growth of these measures among students differentially affected by the closures. We use residential assignment to school as an instrument to address non-random sorting of students into new schools. We also statistically control for the contemporaneous effects of other reforms within the district. Results show that students displaced by school closures can experience adverse effects on test scores and attendance, but these effects can be minimized when students move to schools that are higher-performing (in value-added terms). Moreover, the negative effect on attendance disappears after the first year in the new school. Meanwhile, we find no adverse effects on students in the schools that are receiving the transferring students. [Authors' abstract] 6p
Consensus for Reform: A Plan for Collaborative School Co-locations.
Manners, Nicholle; Ramirez, Ursulina
(Office of Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate of the City of New York , Jul 2011)
New York City Department of Education is trying to expand public charter options. A major challenge of charter expansion is finding school space to support the new school enrollments. But, as critical, is finding space for a co-location where it will not compromise the educational opportunities of students attending the school or schools already in place. This report identifies challenges and makes recommendations on processes and guidelines for co-location. The recommendations advocate for greater participation from parents, community leaders, and seasoned professionals throughout the co-location process not to increase bureaucracy, but to highlight the connection between equity and space. 33p.
Philadelphia Imagine 2014 Facilities Master Plan
(School District of Philadelphia, May 2011)
The School District of Philadelphia is engaging in a comprehensive facilities master planning process titled, "Imagine Great Schools" to provide a roadmap for the District to review its educational program offerings and facilities to determine necessary right-sizing adjustments and help guide where future investments need to be made. Inlcudes overview, policies, video, plan data, and additional resources.
Navigating the Closure Process. Issue Brief.
(The National Association of Charter School Authorizers, May 2011)
Provide a practice-oriented resource for authorizers and other charter school stakeholders to navigate the closure process after the decision to close a charter school has been made. Summarizes how to close a charter school in a responsible and efficient manner. Covers what to anticipate from stakeholders and the key elements of planning a closure. 8p.
Making Room for New Public Schools. How Innovative School Districts are Learning to Share Public Education Facilities with Charter Schools.
Sazon, Maria C.
(National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Apr 2011)
Provides seven case studies of districts where superintendents and school boards are instituting policies and creating practices that allow charter schools to take over or occupy underutilized and unused public buildings. This report also identifies strong policies to ensure charter schools have equitable access to surplus school district space. 36p.
Consolidation of Schools and Districts: What the Research Says and What It Means.
Howley, Craig; Johnson, Jerry; and Petrie, Jennifer
(National Education Policy Center, Boulder, Colorado, Feb 2011)
Provides comprehensive analysis of research on school and district consolidation. The report begins with a definition of what consolidation entails. A brief historical analysis of consolidation’s early history, goals, and proponents helps frame an interpretation of the research and provides perspective on current consolidation initiatives. The report finds that in many places schools and districts are already too large for fiscal efficiency or educational quality and that deconsolidation is more likely to achieve substantial efficiencies and yield substantial improved outcomes. It finds that claims about the financial and educational benefits of widespread consolidation are not supported by contemporary research and are usually based on dangerous oversimplifications. Includes a detailed bibliography. 28p.
Massachusetts School Building Authority 2010 Needs Survey Report.
(Massachusetts School Building Authority, Boston , 2011)
In this survey 84% of schools received top scores for building conditions, and only 23 schools (less than 2%) received the lowest rating for building conditions. 92% of schools have adequate space to support current enrollment and educational programs. 97% of schools received top scores for general learning environment. Between 2000 and 2010, nearly 70 million square feet of school facility space, about 40% of the total square footage in the state, was built new or renovated. Of the 62 schools that received the lowest rating in the 2005 Needs Survey, 9 have received funding from the MSBA, 19 are in the Capital Pipeline and 6 have closed. Of the 278 schools that were given the second poorest rating, 53 received funding from the MSBA and 89 are in the Capital Pipeline. More than one out of every five schools received a Below Average space utilization rating, meaning that the building appears to be significantly larger than its current enrollment or educational program requires. There are more than 150 district-owned school buildings that are not currently used for the education of public school children. More than 80 public schools have closed since the initial 2005 needs survey. Nearly 40 closed due to lack of enrollment, including some schools that were recently built or renovated under the former program. At least seven schools have closed since the end of the 2009-2010 academic year. Nearly 1 million square feet of classroom space is no longer being used for education. The combined costs of building those excess classrooms today would be approximately $275 million. 124p.
Closing a School Building: A Systematic Approach.
(National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC , Sep 2010)
Cites a decline in some regions' school enrollment due to demographics, economics, and school choice. The author then presents a step-by-step analysis for deciding to close a school, and then for closing the building once the decision to close has been made. De-commissioning steps for each month of the last year of the school are suggested, and advice for maintaining the vacant building included. Re-purposing the building while maintaining ownership is strongly recommended, and successful examples of this are cited. 23p.
Pie Suppers and Cake Walks: A Historical Perspective of a Closed Rural Community School.
Robinson, Ruby; Rud, A. G.
(Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association , Apr 2010)
This research looks at the closing of a small rural community school located in a southern Appalachian region and determines its effects upon the teachers, students, and community culture. It was determined that there were both gains and losses incurred with the closing of this rural Appalachian community school. 15p.
Public Comment on Proposed Extension of the Co-Location of PAVE Charter School (84K651) and PS 15 Patrick F. Daly (15K015) in School Building K015.
(Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. , Apr 13, 2010)
This paper presents an assessment, spreadsheets and floor plan as evidence that the DOE needs to carefully reconsider its recommendation to extend the co-location of the PAVE Charter School in the PS15 school building. 15p.
Reality Check: The Impact of Co-location on a Sample of Schools.
(New York City Coalition for Educational Justice, New York , Feb 2010)
Reports that older, established public schools are being closed, forced to share their resources with newly created charter schools, or required to accommodate students displaced when their schools were closed and replaced by charter schools. Overcrowding, school capacity, shared resources, charter schools, and the small schools movement are some of the issues associated with co-location. Errors in the New York City Department of Education's Educational Impact Statements on school co-locations are highlighted, and a moratorium on co-locations pending further, independent analysis is called for. 5p.
A New Life for the Franklin School: Connecting the Past to the Present.
Simon, Chaya Rachel
(Theses, University of Maryland, 2010)
When the Franklin School was built in 1869 in the heart of Franklin Square, a vibrant area of Washington, D.C., the school was the gold standard for D.C. public schools. However, over the years, the building and its surrounding neighborhood have deteriorated. Franklin Square has become a business district active only during business hours, with an underused park. The school, which is currently empty, has undergone a few renovations, but the interior of the building has deteriorated. Despite its emptiness, it remains the only lasting memory of Franklin Square's vibrant past. By redeveloping the Franklin School into a new and accessible public charter school and connecting it to the park, the two can become a catalyst to re-activate the area. By testing different approaches to adaptive re-use, this thesis will explore ways to reconnect the building and its surroundings to the past.[Author's abstract]
Accountability in Action: A Comprehensive Guide to Charter School Closure.
Wechtenhiser, Kim; Wade, Andrew; Lin, Margaret
(National Association of Charter School Authorizers, 2010)
When the decision has been made to close a charter school, this guide provides detailed information about procedures, case studies, a sample closure plan and checklist, and sample letters to various constituencies. It has six chapters: "Why Good Authorizers Should Close Bad Schools"; "The Evidence Base Needed for School Closure"; "Closure: Timing, Process and Appeals"; "Authorizing Boards and Executives"; "Supporting Students and Families"; and "Message Matters in Closure Decisions." 80p
References to Journal Articles
Multifamily Executive; Jul 2012
As public schools continue to close, developers are increasingly converting them into affordable housing, giving the former landmarks a second shot at serving their communities.
School Planning and Management; Jun 2012
Pressure has been building in many parts of the nation to close and merge neighboring small districts, creating larger, more economic units. The basic idea is to eliminate costs, but more often, the question revolves around the possibility of closing school buildings and gathering all students into a single structure, thus savings costs of heating, cleaning, maintenance and more.
School Closing: Proceed With Caution.
Educational Facility Planner; v46 n1 , p17-18 ; Jun 2012
The full costs of closing schools are often underestimated, and the impact of closing a school can have widespread and lingering consequences in a neighborhood.
Urban Schools: What’s Next
School Construction News; May 23, 2012
Today there is a potpourri of public schools operating within urban school districts, including typical PK-12 neighborhood schools; magnet, thematic and choice schools; and a wide variety of charter schools that are operated by the school district or independently. This fragmented scenario creates new challenges and opportunities for facility planners and the facilities divisions in urban public school systems. Recommends creating a non-profit real-estate organization that manages all educational facility assets in a city. Discusses effectively disposing of excess property, or closed school buildings.
Repurposing Schools Gives Life to Vacant Buildings
Governing; May 07, 2012
Holding onto vacated buildings is fiscally untenable, leading more school districts to consider repurposing initiatives. This provides several examples of school districts putting their closed schools on the market, searching for potential buyers who will reuse the properties for projects that will benefit the community.
Community Organizes to Save Neighborhood School in Philadelphia
Education Week; Apr 17, 2012
Outlines key elements of organizing to save a school from closure. Based on the efforts of a community of parents, educators, students and volunteers who mounted an effective and passionate nine-month campaign to keep open E.M. Stanton Elementary School, a neighborhood public school in Philadelphia.
American School and University; Jan 2012
Education institutions must keep a tight rein on spending in 2012 as they search for signs that the national economy is back on its feet. A slow, uncertain economic recovery has improved finances in some parts of the country, but for others, the absence of recovery may require further cuts. Describes the outlook in the following specific areas: funding; charter schools; construction; equity; closings; growth; maintenance & operations; No Child Left Behind; nutrition; security; technology; and sustainability.
School Consolidation: A Silver Lining in a Dark Cloud
School Business Affairs; , p22-24 ; Oct 2011
Discusses the right way to consolidate schools. Looks at early indicators, initiating a study, finding the right data to inform the study, involving stakeholders, communications, transition, technology tools and systems.
Urban Consolidations Raise Issues Similar to Rural Consolidations.
Rural Matters; Apr 2011
The drive to turn around so-called failing schools is one factor fueling a spate of urban school consolidations across the country, as well as declining enrollment, poor facilities, and budget crises — all factors familiar to rural communities who have long been in the trenches trying to maintain local rural schools.
Learn from the Past.
School Planning and Management; v50 n2 , p54 ; Feb 2011
Urges school districts to retain closed school buildings rather than sell them, as many districts have found that when enrollment rebounded, they later needed buildings that they had sold. Ideally, a new school building should be designed to be easily converted to other community uses if it enters a period of underutilization, and ideas for adaptive re-use of existing schools are described.
Déjà Vu: Is History Repeating Itself?
School Planning and Management; v50 n2 , p6 ; Feb 2011
Reflects on historical school consolidations that were intended to achieve efficiency of educational delivery and superiority in math, science, and vocational education. That trend is presently being reversed in an atmosphere seeking smaller schools with more personalized educational delivery.
Are Canada's Historic Schools Our Next Endangered Species?
Wiebe, Christopher and Quinn, Carolyn
Heritage; v13 n3/4 , 20p. ; Dec 2010
Canada's historic schools in inner cities, mature suburbs and rural areas are falling victim to declining enrolment, deferred maintenance, consolidation, development pressures, pedagogical pressures and the perceived high cost of rehabilitation. The scale and pace of school closures across Canada is staggering. Highlights numerous examples of successful renovations or repurposing of the historic buildings.
Hertting, Michael; Fischer, Anne
American School Board Journal; v197 n8 , p30-32 ; Aug 2010
Describes the co-location of three alternative high school programs in a facility housing a K-2 elementary school. The manner in which the building is organized, the scheduling, staff resistance, opportunities for interaction between the staff and student populations, and ongoing challenges are described.
American School and University; v8 n12 , p26-29 ; Jul 2010
Describes various approaches to closing underutilized schools, stressing community involvement, repurposing of surplus facilities, and costs.
Consolidation, What Is It Good For?
Daily Yonder; , p1-5 ; Jun 2010
Presents the argument that school consolidation should be the choice of last resort. Loss of a rural school represents a disinvestment in the community and loss of community fabric, while typically creating extra transportation expense.
Growing Pains: The School Consolidation Movement and Student Outcomes.
Berry, Christopher: West, Martin
The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization; v26 n1 , 1-20 ; 2010
Examines variation in the timing of consolidation across states to estimate the effects of changing school and district size on student outcomes using data from the Public-Use Micro-Sample of the 1980 US census. Between 1930 and 1970, average school size in the United States increased from 87 to 440 students and average district size increased from 170 to 2300 students, as over 120,000 schools and 100,000 districts were eliminated through consolidation. Students educated in states with smaller schools obtained higher returns to education and completed more years of schooling. Reduced form estimates confirm that students from states with larger schools earned significantly lower wages later in life. Although larger districts were associated with modestly higher returns to education and increased educational attainment in most specifications, any gains from the consolidation of districts were far outweighed by the harmful effects of larger schools.[author's abstract]TO ORDER: http://jleo.oxfordjournals.org/content/26/1/1.abstract
When Schools Close: Effects on Displaced Students in Chicago Public Schools.
(University of Chicago, Consortium on Chicago School Research, Oct 2009)
Examines the impact that the closing of some Chicago schools had on the students who attended these schools. The research focused on regular elementary schools that were closed between 2001 and 2006 for underutilization or low performance and asked whether students who were forced to leave these schools and enroll elsewhere experienced any positive or negative effects from this type of school move. Student outcomes, including reading and math achievement, special education referrals, retentions, summer school attendance, mobility, and high school performance were examined. Also examined were characteristics of the receiving schools and if the differences in these schools had any impact on the learning experiences of the students who transferred into them. Students ages eight and older who were displaced by school closings were compared to a group of students in similar schools that did not close. 48p.
Tough Economic Times May Call for Downsizing Facility Resources.
School Construction News; v15 n6 , p23,30 ; Sep 01, 2009
Advises on the process of downsizing school facilities, discussing the inclusion of community members, data collection and analysis, establishing school closure criteria, developing options, making the recommendations, and presenting the final project.
School Planning and Management; v48 n2 , p38-40 ; Feb 2009
Addresses declining school enrollment in some regions, suggesting an organized and thoughtful procedure for closing a school, preparing and securing a school for vacancy, and maintaining a vacant school.
Decisions Need to be Based on More than Money.
School Planning and Management; v48 n1 , p94 ; Jan 2009
Addresses the urge to consolidate small school districts, advising that increased transportation costs and time, and creation of schools that are too large. Alternatives such as sharing teachers and distance learning are proposed.