by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
A public/private deal that would result in a new and much-needed K-12 school in Jones County is generating serious questions about the contract and contractor that would be involved, as Dan Way reports for Carolina Journal.
This could be a once-in-a-generation shot to build a desperately needed K-12 school in a poor county with meager tax revenue. The school is projected to open for the 2019-20 school year.
Folwell and State Auditor Beth Wood peppered school district officials with a series of questions. They focused on whether First Floor K-12 Solutions deserved such an unusual and potentially risky contract, and why local officials appeared to perform only minimal vetting of the contractor.
Under the contract, First Floor will own the $45 million school building and the school district will lease it for seven years. Some $30 million of the funding will come from state appropriations and county sales tax revenue.
Keep reading Dan’s story to learn more about concerns expressed by the state treasurer and state auditor — as well as comments by JLF’s Dr. Terry Stoops about this kind of lease agreement.