Summer 2001 Newsletter

State Leaders Herald Joint-Use As Opportunities For Neighborhod Advancement & Revitalization

The crux of the New Schools-Better Neighborhoods philosophy and vision is the realization that school facilities do more than merely shelter our children from the elements, they are epicenter of a process that has the potential to creating more livable communities. Through the combinination of the wealth of voter-approved school, park, library and health monies, we can develop a cohesive plan to reinvest in our neighborhoods, not merely by constructing a school or a park, but by linking those uses and making that facility the center of a communnity. NSBN is pleased to provide some state leaders thoughts on the potential of this convergence.

Convergence of Schools & Governance
Mike Hernandez
L.A. City Councilman, Council District 1

We all know it's difficult to build anything in the urban core. It's a lengthy process made even more cumbersome when you operate individually. First, the City needs to develop its general and specific plans taking all infrastructure--including schools--into account. And second, the school district needs to understand that the development process would be a lot simpler if they cooperated with the City.

Convergence of Schools & Housing
Julie Bornstein
Director, California Dept. of Housing and Community Development

If more people begin to recognize that quality of life depends on a diverse, well-rounded, well-supported community with good schools, adequate policing, parks, libraries, usable transportation and the ability to have the time to enjoy those amenities then we can make some headway in all of those areas. But, this is not an issue that the state can or should deal with on its own. We need to maximize the resources we have. And the only way to do that effectively is to look for contributions in terms of good ideas and resources from the private sector.

Convergence of Schools & Open Space
Larry Kaplan
L.A. Director, The Trust for Public Land

In the next year or two we're going to have the opportunity to vote on another statewide school bond measure. And while we've had this opportunity in the past--not only with school bonds, but library, police and even park bonds--the climate hasn't been the same. Right now there's a confluence of funding but no effective way of organizing it's allocation. Maybe it's time to build a framework into the funding mechanism that incentivizes these conjunctive uses we've spoken of, that says public agencies must collaborate on joint-use projects in order to get at the bond money.

Convergence of Schools & Community
Bill Bogaard
Mayor, City of Pasadena

Our City is committed to a collabora tive effort with schools and nonprofit organizations that fill the need for child care, mentoring, and enriching after-school programs. Those programs not only help children avoid trouble, but benefit and increase their achievement at school. The end result of these partnerships is to make decisions in the spirit of Steve Bingler's community planning theories which state that, 'schools are fundamental to successful neighborhoods and planning decisions should be made collaboratively between the City and schools.'

Convergence of Schools & Planning
Jackie Goldberg
California State Assemblywoman

I'd urge districts to look at some far out, creative alternatives. We can't just mow down apartment units or take away an entire commercial area. I still think concentrating on building primary centers is the best bet--taking all the K-3's out of the elementary schools and putting them in small, dispersed primary centers, each on one acre or less. Then converting the elementary schools for 4th through 6th grade, and making the middle schools 7th and 8th. I think this could go a long way in areas like mine to relieve overcrowding very quickly.

Convergence of Schools & Governance
Zev Yaroslavsky
L.A. County Supervisor

All levels of government should work together to build the best schools in the best locations that we can--coordinating our efforts and leveraging our resources to make our school sites not only centers for education, but for reading and research as libraries, for health care as clinics, and as epicenters of civic life in their communities.

Convergence of Schools & Open Space
Will Rogers
National Director, The Trust For Public Land

Schools are really the hub of the com munity and any opportunity that exists to create open space, green space or playground areas that can be enjoyed by the community and used by the school presents an enormous opportunity for the revitalization of our neighborhoods. If we don't take this opportunity seriously now, we will really miss out in the future.

Convergence of Schools & Quality of Life
Mark Ridley-Thomas
L.A City Councilman, CD 8

I think that the renewed interest in schools and parks will put the City in good stead as it relates to children and their families. And, great cities do right by their citizenry. And that really does mean having a network of public facilities--be they schools, parks, libraries, etc.--that enrich and enhance the culture of the city.

Convergence of Schools & Environment
Felicia Marcus
Former Administrator, U.S. EPA Region 9

We have so few resources that it just makes sense to maximize benefits with the money we do have. By thinking of schools as the heart of our neighborhoods where we build our future, realizing that they should be healthy, safe and inspiring is a no-brainer.

Convergence of Schools & Financing
Joel Fox
President Emeritus, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Planning and executing the joint use of public facilities--reducing the duplication of similar functions and services--is a smarter, better use of taxpayer money.

Convergence of Schools & Revitalization
Sunne Wright McPeak
President and CEO Bay Area Council

Improving schools in older and poorer neighborhoods is a pivotal strategy for smart growth. Families will live where there are excellent schools for their children.

Convergence of Schools & Services
Steven Szalay
Executive Director, California State Association of Counties

The health and success of California communities is dependent on strategically located, multi-use school facilities. Community services currently provided independently by cities, counties, special districts and school districts could be provided jointly through neighborhood centers consolidated with neighborhood schools. In this way, community goals, rather than parochial agency goals, could be emphasized and achieved.

Convergence of Schools & Governance
Eli Broad
Chairman, Sun America

Can our schools be saved? The answer is a qualified yes. It is qualified because we must take the risks necessary to find solutions, challenge the status quo and break new vision and change the culture at LAUSD and other school districts. Saving our schools requires bold steps, risky steps, relying on new and sometimes unproven ideas for change. Today we must take those risks necessary to find solution.

Convergence of Schools & Financing
Carol Whiteside
President, Great Valley Center

The taxpayers of California make a sig nificant investment in public schools every year, and they have a right to want these facilities used to the max. The school as a community center not only improves the utilization of school buildings, it also helps reconnect an aging population to the educational process and the wonderful potential of California kids of every kind and color.

Convergence of Schools & Civic Life
George Minter
Greer, Dailey, Minter Consultants

An investment in our children's education is more than an investment in our economic future. It is also an investment in the lifeblood of our local community. Why shouldn't today's schools be part of a neighborhood's civic life, bringing together education, recreation and community service?