POLICY (Community Partnerships)
Schools can anchor communities that otherwise might drift apart in a sea of social and economic change. These buildings offer a natural site for services and a common ground for all neighborhood residents. Policy and practice, however, often block shared use of public schools with non-school entities. Districts and communities that want to create shared-use space have little legal or policy guidance to help them do so.
To create incentives and eliminate barriers for school districts to intensify the use of public school buildings and grounds in support of broad school and community needs.
School facilities can show how a community values itself and its potential, and should be used as everyone’s resource.
Schools that are centers of community include:
- Extensive shared community use of the public school facility and grounds;
- Community partnerships bringing non-school resources to schools in support of high quality education, and life-long learning;
- Co-location in public schools with local government agencies and/or community organizations resulting in creative program service delivery and more efficient utilization of public land and buildings.
School planning and asset management can unfold in a cooperative process and vision that considers educational and community needs. School districts usually act as autonomous bodies, but territorial attitudes can breed missed opportunities. The entire community, however, stands to enjoy maximized benefits if all leaders take advantage of a larger municipal planning framework with school facilities in mind. The school building, as well as the activities that take place in it and on the school site during and after school hours, are important components of community development or redevelopment. It also can have an economic impact in the community.