Friday, September 02, 2011

Officials Look Overseas for Models to Pay for School Construction

NOTE:  You have got to be kidding me? And this is like a new revelation? I said this back in 2004 when I first was appointed to the board...and in 2005, and in 2006, and in 2007. Way to keep up 'officials'. (shaking head)

Lease payments to contractors among options
by ANDREW UJIFUSA, Staff writer
When the Canadian province of Nova Scotia wanted to build dozens of schools in the late 1990s, education officials turned to an unusual source of cash — private developers.

The developers contracted with local school systems to design and build 31 schools, and to provide maintenance and operations for the schools, in exchange for lease payments by the province. The contracts obligated Nova Scotia to pay $830 million during the 20-year life of the contracts.

Now, Maryland is beginning to explore whether similar arrangements, also used in Great Britain, could work for state school construction at a time when dollars for new schools and building upgrades are scarce.

Public officials from state and local governments and school systems are scheduled to gather at a Sept. 19 seminar in Annapolis to hear presentations on alternative school financing, as well as alternative funding and energy performance contracting.

David Lever, executive director of the Interagency Committee on School Construction, said the key to such a public-private partnership is the creation of a strong contract that covers a variety of issues, from relationships with unionized maintenance workers to community use of the privately financed facilities.

“I haven’t made up my mind one way or the other, quite frankly. But I think it’s very interesting,” Lever said of whether the arrangement could work broadly in Maryland.


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