Lesli A. Maxwell looks at a new report [PDF] from The Pew Charitable Trusts that examines how 12 urban school districts across the country are managing their "growing inventory of empty and shuttered buildings that are difficult to sell, lease, or otherwise repurpose..."
"Though there is wide variability among district's real estate markets or local policies around the reuse of school buildings, they all face common challenges when trying to find new life for surplus buildings, the Pew report found. Chief among them:
In deciding what to do with shuttered schools, cities are often left with a series of bad options, including: demolishing them, holding onto them indefinitely (and incurring costs in insuring, maintaining, and securing them), or selling them ("usually at a lower price than projected").
According to Maxwell, "The shutdown of schools in cities has triggered a loud and growing backlash recently and prompted parent and student groups in several cities to call for a moratorium on closures and to file formal complaints with civil rights officials in the U.S. Department of Education."