Developing an efficient information system is an ongoing activity,
not a one-time event. The following procedures describe a methodology
to help ensure that the information system is integrated into the
daily operations of the school district or state agency.
Adopt a process for selecting basic data elements.
State education agencies should bring together representatives
of schools and districts within the state to discuss information
needs and ways to collect and record the information. In many states,
conducting an ongoing facilities assessment is an unfunded mandate.
Districts have minimal incentive to provide information for items
that are not funded by the state. The state education agencies could
use this opportunity to improve the availability, accuracy, and
comparability of data they collect in the aggregate. A consensus
from these stakeholders should determine what data must be collected
by all schools and districts within the state, including standard
definitions and data collection procedures.
Incorporate the process into all data planning and development
State education agencies can use this Guide to review the contents
of their existing information systems and the processes used to
collect, analyze, and report data. Redundant and conflicting data
collection methods should be eliminated. Data collectors and users
should be brought together to ensure that the data collection process
is efficient and effective.
Use this Guide to encourage schools and districts to provide
The basic data elements in this Guide can be used to encourage
schools and districts to collect the needed information and use
definitions that will promote the comparability of data.
Provide training and support for schools and districts to use
the basic data elements.
Data providers and users at all levels will be more concerned
with the accuracy of the information that is being collected and
maintained if they understand how they will benefit from it.
Advertise compelling reasons for districts and schools to use
the basic data elements.
Although it may be generally accepted that our nation's school
facilities need to be the best possible if they are to meet current
and future education goals, the relationship between high-quality
data and wise decision-making about facilities may not be readily
apparent to policy makers and the public.
Work with software vendors to incorporate the basic data elements
and their definitions.
Many data system software applications are available to assist
local facilities planners and architects with the operation and
management of facilities. To the extent that the basic data elements
and definitions are incorporated into their programs, facilities
information will be more comparable across systems.
Provide training to information system managers.
State education agencies should take the lead in providing training
on the types of reporting and analysis that will be most useful
to federal, state, local, and school-based users of facilities data.