A message from Superintendent Charles Smialek, Ph.D.
April 15, 2019
We continue to progress with our Master Planning for Strategic Consolidation process. Last week’s meeting at Normandy attracted approximately 75 participants, providing a sense of energy and positive momentum that we hope to sustain. We will continue to use this forum to present research about the impact of new construction as we work toward a potential bond issue in 2020.
Michael Conlin and Paul Thompson (2017) studied the impact of schools constructed in 231 Ohio districts between the years of 1997 and 2011. Their conclusions are, perhaps, the most significant of those we have presented in this space. The funding program that enabled these districts to gain state funding for a share of the cost of construction is the same that will provide us with 31% of the total bill for new facilities. The name of the funding organization has changed from the Ohio School Facilities Commission to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
“The results of our paper suggest that despite the potential for negative effects during the construction phase, investments in school infrastructure yield modest long-term positive impacts on academic achievement and are valued positively by the housing market,” Conlin and Thompson explained in their study. “These results suggest building aid programs may be effective at enhancing overall achievement levels in some districts.”
“Short-term decline (in achievement) is consistent with the premise that construction projects are disrupting student learning, due to construction noise, displacement of students while buildings are renovated, or issues with building consolidations,” the authors further detailed.
However, this short-lived decline is “followed by long-term positive benefits from cleaner, quieter, healthier and more productive learning environments.”
A similar phenomenon occurred when the authors studied property values in districts building new schools: a short-term decrease in housing prices followed by a long-term increase. The authors attributed the initial decrease to residents’ frustration with increased taxes that coincide with the hassle and disruption of construction.
However, this trend eventually reverses course.
“Once the projects are completed, the positive benefits of the new capital stock (e.g., increased academic performance; cleaner, quieter, and healthier learning environment) are fully realized and the disruption costs of construction are no longer present,” Conlin and Thompson describe in their research. “Thus, it is not surprising to find that housing prices are positively impacted by investment in capital stock in the long run.”
Our next Master Planning for Strategic Consolidation meeting will occur Monday, April 29 at 6:30 PM at Parma Senior High School.