Evaluating the Effect of New School Facilities on Student Achievement and Attendance in LAUSD

Over the last 15 years, LAUSD invested over $19 billion to construct and renovate hundreds of school facilities as a part of the largest US public school construction project in US history. How did this investment translate into student academic achievement and attendance? Despite the importance of this question, the academic literature on school capital expenditures thus far offers little guidance to district and state policy makers. We offer new evidence linking new school facilities to improved student test score outcomes and attendance rates.

Julien Lafortune is a PhD candidate in the economics department at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on issues in labor economics and the economics of education. He uses tools from applied microeconomics to examine the impact and efficacy of educational policies, including school finance reforms, school capital construction projects, and tracking regimes in secondary schools. Before attending UC Berkeley, he earned a BS in economics from the University of Michigan

David Schoenholzer is a PhD student in the economics department at UC Berkeley. He uses tools from applied microeconomics and political economy to study issues in development, public finance, and economic history. His research focuses on governance and efficiency of public services. He is the research lead on the SmartMatatu project, offering driver safety and productivity monitoring services to minibus owners in Nairobi, Kenya (http://smartmatatu.com). He is also involved in research on the early development of state societies using global archaeological data; the efficiency of local public services by counties and cities in the U.S.; and new school facility construction in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Before attending UC Berkeley, he earned graduate degrees in statistics from ETH Zurich and economics from University College London, as well as a BA in social sciences from the University of Zurich.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 2:00pm