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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

Educational Equity in Rural Schools Older schools typically have worse building safety conditions and building energy efficiency features than newer schools. About 18% of schools with functional ages of 35 years or more were reported to have poor conditions for their fire alarms, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems. About 23% of schools with functional ages of 35 years or more were reported in borderline condition for their emergency lighting. More than 80% of schools with functional ages of 35 years or more, and 48% of schools aged 15 to 34 years were reported in poor and borderline condition for their building energy efficiency condition. About half of schools with functional ages of 35 years or more were reported as unsatisfactory for their building accessibility, such as handicapped accessibility, vehicular entrances, and exits. The student drop-off area conditions in over 70% of schools with functional ages of 35 years or more were reported in poor and borderline condition. Predictions for Future Building Needs A statistical model was developed to identify the future building needs. The future building needs are examined by the degree to which school enrollments currently differ from the number of students the school is designed to accommodate (building capacity) and the projected enrollment number. This analysis includes four steps: (a) determining the school building classification; (b) calculating school capacity for elementary schools; (c) calculating school capacity for secondary schools, and (d) comparing district enrollment to school capacity and identification of the future needs of school buildings. Using the following formula, a proportion is calculated to determine future building needs: Future Building Needs = 1 - (Prediction of School Enrollment)/ (Building Capacity) × 100 Using this formula, schools with enrollments within 5% of building capacity are considered neither under-enrolled nor over-crowded. When the value of the proportion is greater than 5% and positive, student enrollment is considered less than the building’s capacity, and the school is considered under-enrolled. When the value of the proportion is over 5% and negative, the enrollment exceeds the building’s capacity, and the school is considered over-crowded (or over-enrolled). Following the method used by NCES (2000), the degree of under-enrollment or over- crowded could be further grouped into one of five categories: (a) significantly under enrolled (more than 25% under-enrolled), (b) moderately under-enrolled (6- 25% of under-enrolled), (c) at capacity (enrollment within 5% of capacity), (d) moderately over crowed (6-25% of over- crowded), and (e) significantly over crowed (more than 25% over-crowded). Prediction of elementary school building needs. Percentage Distribution of Elementary School Building Utilization by School Characteristics is presented in Table 2. As shown in Table 2, more than half of rural elementary schools (58%) will experience severe under-enrollment in the next five years (more than 25% under-enrolled). More than 20% of rural elementary schools will experience moderately under-enrolled (6-25% of under-enrolled). To further examine the relationship between elementary school building needs and school characteristics, Chi-square tests were performed for rural elementary schools that will experience under-enrollment. Elementary schools that have enrollment within 5% of capacity or over crowded were not included in the analysis, because the expected value of those schools are too small, which would December 2012 / ACEF 28


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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