Make the Connection Between Business and Education

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March 1, 2013 Looking for a new ally to support education?

Look no further than your local Property and Business Improvement District (PBID). PBIDs are governed by a board of directors representing area businesses and property owners and are funded by an additional tax assessment approved by voters. Usually this additional property tax assessment is funded for a period of five years, but it can be renewed. PBIDs are located in economically challenged areas and tackle issues such as economic development, safety, neighborhood beautification, marketing and promotion of area businesses. Like high quality charter schools, successful PBIDs can revitalize struggling neighborhoods and transform people's lives.

One Sacramento area PBID leader, Jenna Abbott, Executive Director, of The Mack Road Partnership has connected with CCSA and Families That Can to talk about the impact of education on the neighborhood. Many of the Mack Road business leaders have seen a rise in youth crime over the last decade due to a lack of high quality educational opportunities in the area. Unlike other PBIDs, Mack Road has a heavy concentration of large apartment complexes in addition to commercial properties. With so many families living in their target area, education is an important factor in improvement efforts.

Mack Road business leaders have made a commitment to hire local youth, but struggle to find students who come prepared with the basic skills needed to do entry level jobs. Abbott was encouraged to learn that charter school developers are often interested in serving economically disadvantaged students and may offer programs that support internship learning and other workforce skills. The Mack Road Partnership, like other PBIDs, has a relationship with owners of available local commercial properties and may be the best place to start when a developer isn't able to use school district facilities and must consider commercial options. Even more important, PBIDs are connected to the local community and can provide critical insight into community needs and concerns. To be successful, new school developers must get to know local business leaders, understand their long-term goals and consider how a new school will impact the area. Developers can learn what it will take for businesses to support the development of a new school. Pairing high quality charter school developers with interested PBIDs can benefit students and local businesses.

To find your local Property and Business Improvement District, contact your city or county economic development department.