The Charter School Facility Center is kicking off a new Facility Policy Series to review the states’ role in supporting all public school children, exploring the role and responsibilities of state governments to provide adequate and equitable facilities for all public school students. Over the next year, the Facility Center will lead an ambitious effort to research how states can become more engaged in supporting all public school students through access to facilities, funding facilities, financing facilities, and encouraging private solutions.
The premise of this project is to suggest and then prove that, if organized and defined properly, states can provide equitable support for school facilities for all public school children, including those in traditional school districts and public charter schools.
The policy series will be organized around four themes.
- The first theme will be a review of all the best practices available to support public charter school facilities. The Facility Center is pleased to begin this conversation with a list of 25 promising practices for facility solutions in a brief titled Overview of State Facility Policies and Other Facility Strategies. Over the next year, the Facility Center will collect more promising practices from the field.
- The second theme builds upon the work of the National Alliance in describing the public policies and state laws supporting facilities. These include the National Alliance’s Model Law, the National Alliance’s Scorecard for State Laws, and a series of Snapshots of State Facility Laws. The first snapshot is School District Facilities and Public Charter Schools which looks at the state laws that are designed to assist public charter schools in leasing or acquiring public buildings including school district buildings. The second snapshot is Facilities Funding for Public Charter Schools, which looks at the state laws that provide sources of funding for public charter school facilities. Additional snapshots will be forthcoming.
- The third theme recognizes that having a law is only the first step. Many states have laws on the books but they are not being enforced, or are not being funded, or are not having the intended consequences due to loopholes. The Facility Center will investigate the effectiveness of these policies in practice. The result of this analyses will be a ranking of the states and school districts that are providing adequate and equitable facilities. This ranking can be used by charter schools to determine the most attractive places for securing facilities, as charter schools look to identify new locations for expansion.
- The fourth theme will be to offer state-specific and site-specific suggestions and recommendations to improve facility policies and practices.
This work is made possible thanks to a generous grant from Department of Education. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to disseminate best practices concerning charter school facilities through the Charter School Facility Center.