Real Cost Of Michigan's School Construction Boom

A new report offers a detailed assessment of how school construction decisions are made in Michigan, and their effect on development patterns.
February 25, 2004, 10am PST | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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A new report by the Michigan Land Use Institute, Hard Lessons: Causes and Consequences of Michigan’s School Construction Boom, is the first detailed assessment of how school construction decisions — whether to renovate existing buildings or build new schools on green fields — are made in Michigan, and their effect on development patterns. Hard Lessons, which reports the results of a joint project of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Land Use Institute, finds that new school construction is accelerating Michigan's sprawling patterns of development. A 1994 school financing law had the effect of making it easier to build new schools in farm fields. Since 1996, according to the study, school districts built at least 500 new schools in Michigan and closed 278 older ones while the school age population grew by just 4.5 percent. Even though southeast Michigan will lose 1.5 percent of its school age population within 30 years, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, that region recently spent $6.2 billion on expanding or building new schools.

Thanks to Keith Schneider

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Published on Sunday, February 22, 2004 in Michigan Land Use Institute
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