Encourage the sharing of school facilities for community use


Schools traditionally have been the centers of their communities. They can both educate our children and provide access for others to recreational, civic and public space. If community members view a local school as an asset, they will seek rather than oppose the increased presence of schools in the community.

Laws and policies in many states limit the joint use of schools, however, making it difficult for communities to transform them into neighborhood centers and to realize the cost savings that come from sharing facilities for other activities. The need for joint use of school facilities is particularly acute in communities that are built-out and growing. In those places, land is scarce and allowing the joint use of facilities makes it possible to meet the needs of the community while using land efficiently.

States can support the joint use of school facilities by changing statutes, revising funding formulas, and developing guidelines and standards that allow public schools to be used for both educational and community functions.


In many states, enabling legislation is needed to allow for the joint use of school facilities. The legislation should allow communities to partner with private and non-profit organizations to provide community services at school locations. In addition, the legislation should spell out the roles of the school district and its partners; it should delineate who has the authority to make employment or funding decisions, and to lead "joint-use" events. Funding criteria must be flexible enough to allow communities to make their own decisions on what uses are most appropriate.


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