Today's economic downturn has forced school leaders to cut budgets for after-school activities, classroom equipment, and staff, all in an era of increasing academic expectations. Spending on school facilities, in particular, has been relegated to the bottom of priority lists. Yet outmoded facilities cost much more than expected and represent an immense opportunity for reform and savings.
In "Facilities Financing: Monetizing Education's Untapped Resource" (published by AEI's Future of American Education Project), finance specialist and education real estate expert Himanshu Kothari explores the causes of the country's $300 billion funding shortfall in K-12 facilities and offers concrete recommendations to address this troubling trend. Kothari posits that public-private partnerships are a promising avenue for tapping the resources necessary to address capital needs. Because current financial conditions in K-12 scare off potential investors, he suggests that policymakers make private investments in school facilities more appealing by being innovative and overhauling facilities financing.
Effective reform requires:
- Holding educators and schools accountable for academic and financial performance
- Loosening regulations that limit the reach of charter schools and other nontraditional programs
- Creating more opportunities for schools to take advantage of novel financing options
"In light of the ongoing budget squeeze and facilities concerns in K-12 education, Kothari's insight comes at just the right time," says Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). "Enacting the thoughtful measures he suggests will allow for a more stable and investor-friendly system for financing facilities."
Himanshu Kothari can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on AEI's Future of American Education Project, please visit www.aei.org/futureofeducation or contact Jenna Schuette at email@example.com.
For additional media inquires, contact Jesse Blumenthal at firstname.lastname@example.org.