Integrating Infrastructure Planning: The Role Of Schools

Deborah L. McKoy, Jeffrey M. Vincent, and Carrie Makarewicz

California sits at an historic moment. The state’s policymakers and voters have aggressively ramped up their investment in public school buildings, providing more than $35 billion in state funds in the form of general obligation bonds to modernize existing schools and build new ones since 1998. Additionally, the California Strategic Growth Plan won voter approval and in 2006 state leaders began the first phase of a comprehensive twenty-year plan to upgrade critical infrastructure. The plan calls for spending $211 billion through 2016—with $42 billion in bonds already approved—on transportation, water systems, public safety, housing, the judiciary, and education facilities. By including public schools as one of six key pieces of critical infrastructure, state officials and voters recognized the importance of school facilities in shaping California’s growth and prosperity. Ongoing school construction investment, coupled with the new, broader infrastructure investment, creates a strategic opportunity for California to improve the way it plans, funds, constructs, modernizes, and operates its schools, and to make school planning an integral part of community and regional development, rather than an isolated endeavor.

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