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ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012

Educational Equity in Rural Schools factors were in excellent condition. About 20% of these schools reported the air conditioning in poor condition. More than 80% reported their building energy efficiency condition in poor and borderline condition. About half of these schools reported their handicapped accessibility, vehicular entrances, and exits as unsatisfactory. Over 70% reported their student drop-off area condition in poor and borderline condition. As discussed, over time, deferred maintenance and repair can cause a myriad of problems for schools and school districts (Montgomery, 2010). School buildings constructed in the 60s and 70s need to be renovated. The building systems in these schools are at the end of their useful life and do not align with contemporary educational standards. Additionally, rural schools might not all have the conveniences of public utilities such as natural gas, water, sewer, and electricity. Thus, alternative fuels, disposal methods, generators, and water sources (which are more costly) may need to be used. Conclusion Changes to the current policies cannot wait, as rural communities do not have the fiscal and human capital to enact these repairs or new projects on their own. Maintenance of rural schools is critical not only since these outdated structures have gone decades without repairs, but also because the effect of insufficient maintenance can have serious results. This study is the first statewide policy recommendation of its kind that addresses the current state of schools in rural Pennsylvania. Four ways educational access can be attained at the rural level include: closely examine the current conditions of school buildings and create and organize an inventory assessment of facilities across Pennsylvania on an ongoing basis; alter the current purpose of under-utilized educational structures and shift the types of programs offered in some schools and districts to achieve maximum capacity; recognize and employ research to accommodate the space and technological needs students have as 21st century learners; and lastly, attend to the challenges that rural school buildings have in meeting learners’ needs. By gathering major stakeholders and the departments of health, environmental quality, as well as members of the state legislature and school districts, inclusive discussions can take place that will allow for adequate access to education in the rural areas of Pennsylvania. References Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. (2005). A handbook to writing educational specifications. Alaska EED. Retrieved from http://www.eed.state.ak.us/facilities/publications/EdSpec2005Edition.pdf California Department of General Services. (2006). Report of the executive officer State allocation board meeting. California DGS. Retrieved from http://www.documents.dgs.ca.gov/opsc/SAB_Agenda_Items/2006- 01/Eligibility_Report.pdf Chan, T. C. (1998). School capacity update: An essential but often forgotten planning process. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED463639) DeJong, W. S., & Craig, J. (1999). Defining capacity. Educational Facilities Planner, 35(3), 18- 22. Filardo, M., Bernstein, J., & Eisenbrey, R. (2011). Creating jobs through FAST!: A proposed new infrastructure program to repair America’s public schools. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute. December 2012 / ACEF 34


ACEF Journal Vol 3 Issue 1 December 2012
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