Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Center for Public Policy

First Advisor

Morton Gulak


Most departments of education and school boards do not identify nor compile data reasons for public school abandonments. Public schools are anchors, vital components, and “heartbeats” of communities that contribute to the growth or decline of neighborhoods. Despite the influences that public schools have on the development and sustainability of neighborhoods, public school abandonments are increasing. School systems use abandonments to address challenges of poor academic achievements, decreasing budgets, declining enrollments, and deteriorating and underutilized facilities. However, absent from literature are comprehensive data and analyses that identify the number of public school abandonments, their locations, or the contributing factors for these abandonments. In this dissertation, I argue that this lack of information creates a critical gap to effective urban and school planning and neighborhood preservation. I confirm this gap and provide a foundation for future research. First, I analyze demographic data for ten of the nation’s most populous metropolitan areas. Second, I survey inner-city school district administrators to obtain primary data about school abandonments. I confirm through my data analyses that abandonments occur most often in poverty and minority concentrated inner-city neighborhoods. I conclude that the findings of my research support the need for comprehensive data and analyses specific to public school abandonments and the need for urban and school planners to evaluate and incorporate the analyses of these data in strategic neighborhood and school planning and development decisions, thereby, minimizing additional adverse impacts on communities that are already in social, economical, and physical distress.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010