Bridging the Funding Gap in Public School Projects

School. A child’s second home. A place that holds the key to every child’s future. A place where a child learns not only the academic stuff, but lessons that they take with them through life. 

Parents do their best for their children, but those with few resources often find themselves at a disadvantage that affects their children’s education. Through no fault of their own, kids in areas of higher poverty do worse at school than their lower poverty peers.

We don’t think this is fair. We want to change this and work hard to make that change with every project we take on.

High poverty schools lead to lower academic achievement

The idea that poverty in a school setting affects that school’s children in their education isn’t just some made-up notion. It’s been proven. In the report ‘Insights into Housing and Community Development Policy’, produced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), you can read about the damaging effect that poverty in a school has. 

The report highlights experimental evidence that demonstrates how big a change is made to children’s education when those children attend lower poverty schools:

“The best experimental evidence on low poverty schools comes from Heather Schwartz’s study of Montgomery County, Maryland,” the report tells us. “Schwartz’s study compared the academic outcomes of the children who lived in public housing and were, effectively, randomly assigned to attend lower-poverty schools (0 to 20 percent FRPL-eligible) or those assigned to higher-poverty schools (20 to 85 percent FRPL-eligible).

“After 2 years, the students who attended lower-poverty schools began to perform better in reading and math than their peers in higher-poverty schools. 

“After 7 years, the public housing students at lower-poverty schools cut the math achievement gap with their higher-income peers in half, while the public housing students at higher poverty schools showed no relative improvement.”

If you live in a poor district, your children’s schools are probably poorly funded

You’d think that with such evidence available, states would fund schools in poorer districts at a higher rate. But this isn’t the case. In fact, funding of schools works against the children that need the most help.

A report published by The Education Trust in 2018 found huge funding gaps in more than half of U.S. states, when state and local funding of schools in higher poverty districts are compared to schools in lower poverty districts.

The actual difference? A colossal average of $1,000 per student. The biggest funding gaps were found in Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, and New York. 

Managing a better school experience

A construction project goes through seven stages, ending with the closeout. The success of the project is founded on the first stage – the design. It is at this stage that an architect or engineer first assesses the feasibility of the design based on regulations and codes of the building, as well as the use of the building.

The effectiveness of a school build project is built on this foundation, and shaped by each stage that follows:

  • Pre-construction

  • Procurement

  • Construction

  • Commissioning

  • Owner occupancy

  • Closeout

In our experience, great school construction happens when it is done by project managers who understand the real relevance of a school to its children. It’s not a school, it’s a second home. That deserves love, care, and attention – the attributes that deliver outstanding time and schedule management, and the cost benefits that flow from this.

Delivering a better community

A school is the beating heart of a community. It pumps out the lifeblood of a community’s future. If the children in a school aren’t treated to the best education they can get, a community will not prosper to its full potential.

Here at ACB Consulting, we believe that every Public School project deserves a little extra care and attention. The kind that delivers a better community, and not only in the future. As the project progresses, we ensure that our teams respect the local community and those who live there. 

We may be working in an empty property, but the neighborhood is still populated. So, we respect people’s space, lives, and needs while we are working. We ensure schools are built to help their students prosper, and while we are doing this, we ensure we remain mindful of the community we are helping to build better.

Isn’t it time your construction project was managed with a purpose? Contact ACB Consulting to discover more.


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