New Publication: Creating Communities of Learning: Schools and Smart Growth

New Publication: Creating Communities of Learning: Schools and Smart Growth

New Jersey is a bellwether of trends in education and land use reform to link planning for schools and communities based on the principles of "Smart Growth." This opportunity came to the fore as a result of the state Supreme Court's landmark 1998 ruling in Abbott v. Burke ordering the state to provide educationally adequate facilities for public school children in 30, primarily urban, special needs districts, along with a comprehensive package of reforms. The state launched the Abbott school construction program in 2000.

This report describes a campaign, dubbed Communities of Learning, launched by the former Office of State Planning (2000-2002) to raise awareness about a once in a lifetime chance to leverage the state's investment in Abbott schools to link urban school reform with facility design and community development by planning and designing schools that serve as centers of community-also a key strategy to achieve the goals of New Jersey's Smart Growth focused State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

The report describes two exemplary projects seeded by that campaign and Community School Smart Growth Planning Grants: a national design competition for a new high school in Perth Amboy and an effort to engage large scale public engagement in a community school master planning process in Plainfield. It begins with a brief historical overview of how school finance reform and state planning evolved in New Jersey as overlapping and interactive trends. Next, it describes how the Communities of Learning campaign and grant program came about as the necessary backdrop for analyzing the case studies that follow. What contributed to the successes achieved in each case? What were the impediments? Hopefully these lessons will inform policy makers, practitioners and advocates in New Jersey and elsewhere, in advance of state funding.

Related Link: Education Law Center: Abbott School Facilities Resources

For more information contact:

Ellen Shoshkes

38 Willow Terrace
NJ 07030

Phone: 201-656-3511
Email: [email protected]

Posted May 20, 2004

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