Is your state facing threats of demolition or abandonment of neighborhood schools? When new schools are built, can your children to walk to their school? Do decision-makers understand the many roles schools play within your community? In addition to reaching educational objectives, do you believe that schools can serve other purposes in your neighborhood?
Concerned about the abandonment of older neighborhood schools and the siting of new schools outside of communities, the National Trust is offering an opportunity for organizations and coalitions in up to five states to analyze their state’s current policies and develop an educational outreach program with policy recommendations to help citizens and officials make informed choices when spending their limited dollars on school facilities. Selected organizations will receive a year of technical assistance and a $6,000 grant to: 1) research state policies and practices; 2) convene a policy summit to develop recommendations; 3) develop educational materials; and 4) hold a press event to announce policy findings. By participating in this program, organizations will secure community-centered schools for their state through the implementation of state-level policies. The proposal deadline is July 14, 2008 at 5:00 p.m. eastern.
Through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and with support from the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, the National Trust launched the Helping Johnny Walk to School: Sustaining Communities through Smart School Siting Policies program to help localities site their schools in a way that not only achieves their educational objectives, but also anchors the local neighborhood, supports better public health, creates a cleaner environment, spurs economic development, and offers additional amenities to the community.
Since publishing the seminal work Why Johnny Can’t Walk to School: Historic Neighborhood Schools in the Age of Sprawl and listing the threat to older neighborhood schools on the America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites list in 2000, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has continually sought ways to raise awareness about the important link between community vitality and walkable neighborhood schools. This new program is a program of the National Trust Center for State and Local Policy which provides technical assistance, trains advocates, and conducts research on policies that impact the country’s historic resources. Partners in this work with include authors Constance Beaumont and Tom Hylton, as well as organizations such as Safe Routes to School, The Rural School and Community Trust, and the 21st Century School Fund.
For more information about this issue and details about applying for this new grant opportunity, visit http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/historic-schools/ or contact Renee Viers Kuhlman, Director of Special Projects, Center for State and Local Policy, at Phone: 202-588-6234, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org