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Should schools and companies be best friends?

Between 1992 and the year 2000, enrollment in California's K- 12 public schools is projected to grow by over 200,000 students on average each year -- from 5.2 to 7.2 million students. To meet that demand, the state Department of Education estimates it will need $17 billion over the next five years for school construction and building modernization alone.

The private sector can help by providing school infrastructure in the form of satellite schools. Satellite schools -- developed five years ago in Dade County, Florida -- operate as public schools on business worksites. The host business contributes land, building space and some operating expenses. The school district supplies everything else -- teachers, supplies, curriculum and administration. Daycare services extend the school day to meet the needs of working parents.

For example, for the 1991-92 school year, the American Bankers Insurance Group, a host business, paid the following operating expenses for its satellite school: utilities, $16,000; grounds maintenance, $6,000; janitorial services, $6,000; building maintenance, $12,000; corporate insurance, $2,700; and furniture, $5,600 -- for a total of $48,300.

Satellite schools in Dade County have saved the public millions of dollars in school infrastructure and transportation costs. Other benefits include increased academic performance and attendance among students, and increased interaction between parent, child and teacher. Business partners hosting satellite schools claim absenteeism and turnover have dropped among parents with children enrolled in the worksite schools. (The American Bankers Insurance Group, for instance, reported that absenteeism had declined by 30 percent and turnover had dropped by 9.5 percent among satellite-school parents.) The schools also provide career advancement opportunities for teachers, which is one reason Dade County's 20,000-strong teachers' union endorses the idea.

In February 1993, California's Santa Rosa School District, in partnership with the Hewlett-Packard Corporation, opened the state's first satellite school, welcoming 60 kindergarten and first-grade students.

Janet R. Beales, adapted from "Satellite Schools: The Private Provision of School Infrastructure," a study conducted by the Reason Foundation, Los Angeles
COPYRIGHT 1993 Financial Executives International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:The Future
Author:Beales, Janet R.
Publication:Financial Executive
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Words:333
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