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ERIC Number: EJ994596
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Whose School Buildings Are They, Anyway?
Smith, Nelson
Education Next, v12 n4 Fall 2012
School districts held an exclusive franchise on public education services until 1991, when Minnesota passed the first law permitting public charter schools. Charter schools are publicly funded, authorized by various agencies designated in public law, but independently managed. They operate outside district control, and most can draw students from all across town, not just those who live within neighborhood boundaries. Virtual charter schools can attract students from all around the state, without regard to any traditional school-district boundary. Parents have a choice, competition has arrived, and innovation can flourish. But there's a catch: traditional public-school districts still own the great majority of school buildings, and with rare exceptions, public charter schools have no legal claim to them. If charters want to build their own facilities, they face enormous obstacles. The lack of available facilities is a direct and pressing constraint on the growth of high-quality charter schools. According to a recent survey by the National Charter School Research Project, scarcity of facilities was listed first among all reported external barriers to growth of charter management organizations, mentioned in 89 percent of responses. The author explores the sources and consequences of the iron grip school districts typically enjoy over the financing, development, ownership, and deployment of public school facilities--and some promising strategies for breaking it. (Contains 1 figure and 1 table.)
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Colorado; District of Columbia; Florida; Georgia; Indiana; Louisiana; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Missouri; New Mexico; New York; Ohio; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Wisconsin