Study: Districts struggle to reuse closed schools

Schools closed
Posted at 5:01 PM, Feb 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-11 17:01:00-05

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — New research finds that urban education officials nationwide have trouble unloading shuttered schools because of poor real estate markets, undesirable locations and bad building conditions.

A study released Monday by the Pew Charitable Trusts says a dozen U.S. districts have collectively been able to sell, lease or reuse 267 sites since 2005. But they still own an additional 327.

School closures are the result of enrollment declines in cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Detroit. Empty buildings are costly to maintain and can lead to blight.

Publicly financed charter schools have reused more than 40 percent of the sites. But that's contentious, because critics say charters contribute to enrollment problems by siphoning off district students.

The study also found that schools usually sell for much less than what officials expect.