Professors Yu and Burland Study Long-term Capital Investments

Jinhai YuIn May a team of School of Public Policy (SPP) researchers received a grant from the Connecticut COVID-19 Education Research Collaborative (CCERC). The grant will run through June 2024, total $99,948 and focus on “Categorizing and Understanding Facilities and Long-term Capital Investments.” Professor Jinhai Yu serves as the Principal Investigator, and will execute all aspects of the project and reporting except for the interviews. As a member of the research team Professor Elizabeth Burland will conduct interviews and analyze the qualitative data.

Since May the team has coded the capital investment plan data. Currently they are preparing to produce initial descriptive findings, and have started the qualitative data collection. Next semester, the team will complete the quantitative portion of the project and begin analyzing the qualitative data. Elizabeth Burland

Below we include their project abstract:

The school districts throughout Connecticut were allocated significant American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP-ESSER) funds to spend on longer-term (capital) investments, including HVAC upgrades, purchasing of new technology, etc. This project is tasked with understanding the ways in which districts spent the allocations on long-term facilities and other physical investments and the impacts on student outcomes. This study will use a mixed methods approach. The quantitative analysis includes coding capital investments under ARP-ESSER plans, descriptive data analysis of the ARPESSER capital investments, and analysis of the impact of the ARP-ESSER capital investments on student academic and behavioral outcomes. In addition to analysis of the quantitative data, the research team will conduct interviews with key district decision-makers in a subsample of districts to understand how these ARP-ESSER funds were allocated, what they perceive to be the impact of the funding on student outcomes, and the role of COVID-19 and other factors in shaping spending priorities. This project will result in a policy report for the Connecticut COVID-19 Education Research Collaborative as well as at least one academic publication.

In the coming year we look forward to sharing more information regarding the work of Professor Yu and Professor Burland!