In keeping with this month's American School & University “Top 10” theme, here's a look at 10 key education facilities and business trends that are sure to gain prominence in 2002 and beyond:
- Increased state involvement
The Philadelphia school district has become the largest ever to be put under direct state control. Through takeovers of troubled districts, court-ordered improvements or funding increases, states will become bigger stakeholders in running school districts.
- Higher level of preparedness
Schools have adopted a heightened sense of security over the past few years, but the events of Sept. 11 have propelled education institutions into uncharted territory. School and university administrators will need to re-evaluate security plans — and prepare for events that were beyond comprehension four months ago.
- Refocusing on facilities
Although the late 1990s saw increased attention on the condition of education facilities, the past couple of years have seen less of a focus. But with the plethora of recent reports about school buildings with poor indoor air quality causing sickness, 2002 should bring a renewed vigor to address the indoor learning environment.
- Preponderance of technology
Technology will become even more affordable and advanced, and will further infiltrate education facilities and business operations.
- Fewer operating funds
Economic woes will force education institutions to seek innovative, and possibly controversial, ways to support daily operations.
- Greater acceptance of e-commerce
Education institutions will warm up to e-commerce, whether through a private supplier, a co-op with other institutions or on their own. The economies afforded will continue to make it attractive for schools and universities.
- Re-evaluating energy management
With concerns about deregulation and the procurement of energy — especially with the collapse of Enron — education institutions will need to rethink how they buy, use and manage energy.
- Growth of privatization
Charter schools, and privatization of individual services or an entire school district, will gain more scrutiny as education leaders look for alternatives that save money and improve performance.
- Importance of education
After a tumultuous 2001 in which homeland security, war and the economy overshadowed other issues, education again will rise to the top of the nation's psyche.
- Due rewards
The role of those responsible for the nation's education infrastructure will get the attention it deserves — and the importance of the job you do, and the potential it has to improve the health and education of children, will be better realized at the local, state and national level.
The Top 10 School Bond Issues Passed in 2001
(5 of which were in Texas):
- Northside ISD, Texas
- Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, Texas
- Desert Sands USD, Calif.
- Tacoma, Wash.
- Richardson ISD, Texas
- Fairfax County, Va.
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Lewisville ISD, Texas
- Irving ISD, Texas
- Alpine, Utah
Source: The Bond Buyer