RURAL SCHOOL FACILITY ISSUES
Information on rural school facilities issues, including funding challenges, equity and adequacy, community support, size considerations, and facility improvements.
References to Books and Other Media
Rural Educational Facilities
Jack T. Cole and Janaan Diemer
(Rural America, Feb 22, 2012)
Discusses the current conditions of rural educational facilities including statistics, consolidation and cooperative options, multiple use issues and technological advances. Also addresses the challenges faced by those utilizing rural educational facilities.
Green Schools and Sustainability in Appalachia. Case Studies in Rural Practice.
(Regional Technology Strategies; Appalachian Regional Commission; Carrboro, NC , Mar 2011)
Highlights best practices in colleges that are both environmentally sustainable themselves, and that foster education-community partnerships to support local economic growth. It emphasizes those institutions most closely aligned with local economies. The examples provided showcase the policies, people, and resources needed to foster a sustainable approach to campus development and management, as well as energize local communities to pursue new opportunities that are available throughout Appalachia. 46p.
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.
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.
The Green School: Not a Dream Anymore.
Profiles The Green School in Bali, Indonesia. The idea behind the conceptualized school is that the students would learn in the open air surrounded by nature that they feed and care for. They learn to build with bamboo while studying for the British school exams. The center of the school, called the Heart of School, ranks as Asia’s largest bamboo building. This high school was built by the same people who made the local jail and the insane asylum, with the same materials. The school has attracted "green" housing, industry, and community growth.
Architectural Quality in Planning and Design of Schools: Current Issues with Focus on Developing Countries.
Knapp, Eberhard; Noschis, Kaj, eds.
(Comportements and Authors, Lausanne, Switzerland , 2010)
This volume contains the proceedings of the 13th Architecture & Behavior Colloquium, bringing. It brought together researchers, designers, consultants and decision makers on educational facilities. Representatives from countries in Africa, the Middle-East, Europe, and the United States took part. The eleven presentations included in the proceedings cover the following topics: 1) Research on the interrelation between the quality of educational facilities and students' learning performance; 2) Educational architecture that enhances learning and social processes: examples of successful design projects, and 3) Educational architecture in developing countries: standard designs vs. site-specific, individual designs. 108p.
Planning a School Construction Referendum: A Case Study of a Small Rural School District in Southern New Jersey.
(UMI Proquest, Ann Arbor, MI, 2010)
Narrate the author's experience on a school planning task force developed in response to a failed bond referendum. The public demanded more say in the future planning for the community's schools. The board of education solicited participation of community members for the project. A matrix representing all segments of the community was created. As people submitted letters of interest the matrix was filled. Once it was filled the project began. The board of education and superintendent needed to be as far away from this project as possible. The committee members had to have the ability to speak freely without the board's influence. This writer, the business administrator, along with a professional facilitator was chosen to facilitate this committee. The case study that follows documents this task force's journey and the resulting school referendum. As a result of the task force process the community members had their say in shaping the future of their school facilities and the district gained allies of what used to be their most outspoken critics. [author's abstract] 271
Basic Education (Girls) Project (BEGP) in Laos People's Democratic Republic.
(Comportements and Authors, Lausanne, Switzerland , 2010)
Profiles this project by which 504 schools and 52 district education offices have been built in remote areas of Laos considered to be below the poverty line. The overall objective is general primary education by 2015 for children in Laos, providing access to at least five years of education for all children in the country. The project is enabling access to modern primary education for 75, 000 children. The communities were required to make some contributions to the construction of their schools. They were typically required to provide land for the site, fencing to surround the site, and to ensure the maintenance of the building. Involving the community in this way not only saves on costs, but also provides an important indicator of the commitment of the community to run and maintain the school, and it strengthens the sense of ownership. Also discussed is the simple module that serves as architectural basis for the school projects. The module's characteristics make it site-specifically adaptable in terms of number of modules and construction materials. 6p.
Stress and the Administrator of Rural Schools Being Rebuilt.
Wright, Robert J.; Lesisko, Lee J.
(Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Denver, CO, Apr 30-May 4, 2010), 2010)
School construction or renovation projects can have a profound affect on students, faculty and administration. The negative impact on the ongoing educational programs is a stressor for many administrators. The possibility that rural school administrators would experience more stress producing problems than would suburban and urban school leaders was studied. Using a sample of 190 school administrators, this hypothesis was supported for a number of dimensions of school climate. Possible causes for this differential effect are proposed. 13p
The Impact of Rosenwald Schools on Black Achievement.
Aaronson, Daniel; Mazumder, Bhashkar
(Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago , Oct 2009)
The Black-White gap in completed schooling among Southern born men narrowed sharply between the World Wars after being stagnant from 1880 to 1910. We examine a large scale school construction project, the Rosenwald Rural Schools Initiative, which was designed to dramatically improve the educational opportunities for Southern rural Blacks. From 1914 to 1931, nearly 5,000 school buildings were constructed, serving approximately 36 percent of the Black rural school-aged Southern population. We use historical Census data and World War II enlistment records to analyze the effects of the program on school attendance, literacy, high school completion, years of schooling, earnings, hourly wages, and migration. We find that the Rosenwald program accounts for at least 30 percent of the sizable educational gains of Blacks during the 1910s and 1920s. [Authors' abstract] 69p.Report NO: WP 2009-26
Rural School District Enrollment and Building Capacity: Projections for the Next 10 Years.
(Center for Rural Pennsylvania, Sep 2009)
Research was conducted to provide a perspective on the potential building needs of Pennsylvania school districts over the next 10 years. The researcher developed an inventory of school buildings in rural Pennsylvania through a survey of rural school districts, analyzed enrollment trends for rural school districts over the next 10 years, developed a statistical model to examine future building needs, and determined whether school districts will be at risk of under- or over-capacity. The findings provide a complex portrait of Pennsylvania’s current rural school building conditions and projections of building use over the next 10 years. Based on the findings, the researcher recommends the following policy considerations: 1)The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and school districts should consider establishing a reporting system to effectively monitor school building conditions; 2) School districts should consider ways to use under-used school buildings and maximize public use of school facilities; and 3) PDE and school districts should consider the changing face of student learning environments to accurately assess building capacity needs. 16p.
Town & Country: A Tale of Two Cultures.
(National Wildlife Federation, Reston, VA , Jul 28, 2009)
Describes efforts at rural Grinnell College and urban New York University to operate a sustainable campus. Successes and failures are described, especially where cooperation from neighboring land owners with conflicting interests was not achieved. 5p.
The Relationship Between the Condition of School Facilities and Certain Educational Outcomes, Particularly in Rural Public Schools in Texas.
Sheets, Martin Eugene
(Dissertation in Educational Leadership, Texas Tech University, May 2009)
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the condition of rural public high school facilities in Texas and student achievement, student attendance, and teacher turnover. The measures for the condition of facilities variables used in this study were obtained from the 2006 Texas Comptroller’s Facility Survey of the 1,037 public school districts in Texas. The participants for this study were the 72 rural public high schools out of the 309 total responses to the survey from all district types. Multiple regression analyses were utilized to examine which selected condition of facilities variables and demographic variables best predicted certain educational outcomes. This study found that the student wealth level contributed most to the variance in student achievement. However, the condition of school facilities has a measurable effect over and above socioeconomic conditions on student achievement and teacher turnover.[Author's abstract] 141p.
Impact of the Location of New Schools on Transportation Infrastructure and Finance.
(Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Transportation Institute, University Transportation Center, Atlanta , May 2009)
Discusses the research on the relationship between school location and new development. Four counties in Georgia were selected as case studies and analyzed with a Geographic Information System (GIS) to determine the significance of the link between these activities. Counties were selected based on their character (urban, suburban, exurban, rural) and analyzed separately. An elementary school and high school were analyzed for each county. In addition, interviews with school facility planners were conducted to further define what institutional barriers prevent cooperation among local land use planners and school planners. It was found that there is a wide range of levels of cooperation between school planners and local planners. Some school districts had a formalized communication process with local planners, some had an ad-hoc communication process, and others had no process at all. Recommendations are made on ways to improve the cooperation between these two professional fields. This report also examines the link between education and transportation capital funding. Georgia lawmakers are struggling to determine what type of capital funding mechanism would be appropriate for new transportation projects, but these new projects may negatively impact educational funding, which is currently based on a sales tax. 118p.
2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom.
(Architecture for Humanity, Open Architecture Network, San Francisco, CA, 2009)
Presents over 300 school designs from teams made up of architects, students, and teachers, along with detail on the award winnders. The economical designs are intended developing and under-funded areas, with an emphasis on affordability, sustainability, and portable or modular construction.
Nebraska School Facilities: Educational Adequacy of Class III School District Structures.
(University of Nebraska, Lincoln , 2009)
Reports on the the educational adequacy of Nebraska's numerous Class III school districts, which offer a wide array of school settings, from urban to extremely rural, and from the third largest school system in Nebraska to a single school district occupying a county in the western sandhills. The answers submitted by the superintendents and building administrators were compared and analyzed against the responses tendered in 1993. Significant differences were found between the opinions of the building administrators who participated in 1993 study and those who participated in the 2009 study. In 1993, 14% of building administrators perceived their facilities as overcrowded. In 2009, approximately 5% shared that perception. In 1993, 46% of building administrators held the perception that their facilities did not accommodate the use of technology. In 2009, 30% of building administrators had the same opinion. In 1993, 32% of the buildings were reported as air conditioned. In 2009, 94% of the buildings were reported as air conditioned. 281p.
Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory.
(Yale University Press, New Haven, CT , 2009)
Examines the history of the one-room school and how successive generations of Americans have remembered, and just as often misremembered, this powerful national icon. Drawing on a range of sources, from firsthand accounts to poems, songs, and films, the book traces the evolution of attitudes toward the little red schoolhouse from the late nineteenth century to the present day. At times it was celebrated as a symbol of lost rural virtues or America's democratic heritage; at others it was denounced as the epitome of inefficiency and substandard academics. Because the one-room school has been a useful emblem for liberal, conservative, and other agendas, the truth of its history has sometimes been stretched. For more than a century, it has embodied the nation's best aspirations and especially its continuing faith in education itself. 256p.TO ORDER: http://yalepress.yale.edu/yupbooks/home.asp
References to Journal Articles
Green of Course
Environmental Design + Construction; Feb 03, 2012
Lake Mills Middle School in rural Wisconsin follows a path of sustainability with an expansion and renovation for student advancement and fiscal responsibility. Students can look forward to better scores and fewer sick days thanks to the school’s new green attributes that earned it a Platinum LEED certification.
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.
Building Blocks: Humanitarian Design and Schools.
Architectural Record; v199 n1 , p116-120,122 ; Jan 2011
Profiles simple schools constructed in developing, disaster-stricken, or otherwise challenged areas. These include a prototype two-room school facility built in many Haitian locations where the 2010 earthquake had destroyed existing schools, a secondary school in Burkina Faso, and Florida child care centers that serve migrant populations. Use of readily-obtainable materials, natural light and ventilation, and economy figure significantly in every facility.
An Examination of Capital Outlay Funding Mechanisms in Oklahoma.
Johnson, Carl; Maiden, Jeffrey
Journal of Education Finance; v36 n1 , 1-21 ; Summer 2010
Explores fiscal interrelationships that underlay capital outlay funding, including the differences between rural and non-rural school districts. The study additionally focuses on the relationships between various capital outlay funding components and student achievement. The analysis determined the extent to which these specific factors affected spending by including two levels of rurality as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau along with SES, current expenditures, local wealth, and local support as variables. Rural and non-rural were found to be significantly different in net assessed valuation and capital outlay expenditure, but not bond passage rate. Socioeconomic status was significantly related to and a predictor of capital outlay expenditures. Capital outlay expenditure, net assessed valuation, nor rurality was significantly related to student achievement. The study identified how these capital outlay funding mechanisms in Oklahoma are related to one another and the effect they have as a group and individually on the ability of local educational leaders to address facility needs.TO ORDER: http://muse.jhu.edu/login?uri=/journals/journal_of_education_finance/v036/36.1.johnson.html
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.
Building Virtual Classrooms.
Campus Technology; v23 n7 , p12,14,15 ; Mar 2010
Describes how two rural community college expanded their distance learning facilities. The problems faced by the present systems, the solutions, and outsourcing where necessary are described.
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
Knowing the Odds. Parameters that Predict Passing or Failing School District Bonds.
Bowers, Alex; Metzger, Scott; Militello, Matthew
Educational Policy; v24 n2 , 398-420 ; 2010
This study investigates parameters affecting the likelihood of passing school facility construction bonds by local district election. Using statewide data from Michigan, this study analyzes school bond data for urban, suburban, small town, and rural school districts that held capital improvement bond elections from 2000 to 2005. This analysis found four parameters that were significant in predicting either passage or failure of school bonds: bond amount, number of students enrolled, the number of times the bond was attempted, and district urbanicity. Examining district bond passage rates by urbanicity showed that rural districts have worse chances of passing bond elections than urban and suburban districts and that small-town districts have the worst chances of all. [Authors' abstract]TO ORDER: http://epx.sagepub.com/content/24/2/398
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.
The Mill's Tale
21 Century Schools; v4 n1 , p30-32 ; 2009
Profiles the conversion of a Victorian-era mill into a science and engineering academy, which has transformed its rural village into a hub of academia. The significant design challenges, cleaning, retrofitting, repair, and respectful modern additions are described.