I just did a quick fact check of the stats I mentioned yesterday, and my #'s were a bit off. Still having trouble tracing the numbers back to the U.S. Department of Transportation, which appears to be the original source, but it looks like the number of kids who walked or biked to school in 1969 was 41 or 42%, not 50. In any case, the number of kids walking or biking to school has decreased at least threefold since then.
state support for joint use(3 posts)
Hi Jeff, good to see you at the joint informational hearing at the capitol building on Tuesday! I was stunned by some of the statistics (e.g. In 1969, half of all kids walked or biked to school; in 2001, only 14% did! yikes!). Before that hearing, I hadn't thought too much about how the location of a school affects so many other things in our daily lives, like how much we drive or how healthy we are. It does make so much more sense to position schools at the center of a community instead of on the outskirts, which seems to be the current trend.
I got the impression that the panelists and legislators were in agreement that the quality and location of schools is a crucial part of having sustainable communities and that partnerships among sectors (enviro, transit, education, etc.) are needed. But I wasn't getting a clear sense of how we go from discussions to actually making these things happen. Sounds like one big hurdle is the 2/3 majority voting rule that you mentioned, which allows school districts to exempt themselves from zoning requirements. How big of an obstacle do you think that is? More generally, I'm curious to know what you thought of the hearing. Do you see reasons to feel encouraged? What was your take-away?
Lisa, and Ana, I'd love to hear your thoughts too. Great to see both of you at the hearing as well!
After 10 years of the current School Facilities Program (SFP) (the state program that funds the construction of new and modernization of existing school facilities in CA), it seems the time is ripe to revisit the structure and policies within the program. This could be particularly well-timed with a potential new statewide school construction bond in the next couple of years.
Were this to happen, what would be three key state program and/or policy elements you think would best encourage and/or support expanded community use of our public school facilities? Particularly, ones that you feel would incent school districts to be energetic partners?
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