by Locker Room contributor
Gubernatorial candidate Richard Moore recently outlined a school facilities plan called Building a Bridge to Our Future: A School Construction Plan for North Carolina. The plan would create a non-profit organization, The Future School Partnership (FSP), to assist local governments build schools faster and for less money.
There are some good ideas in the plan, including
1) facilitating public-private partnerships;
2) using the design-build process to build schools;
3) banking land;
4) making stock plans available to school systems; and
5) negotiating bulk-purchase contracts.
There are three problems with the plan:
1) The plan hints at building “green” or “sustainable” schools, which would devour some of the cost savings.
2) The plan fails to say who would foot the bill for the $10 million start-up cost (or the operational cost) for the non-profit. I suspect that the state would pick up the tab, but it would be difficult to maintain the support of legislators from counties that have no need for help with building or renovating school facilities.
3) School systems might be better served by establishing their own non-profit organizations for this purpose. A statewide organization, especially one funded with state dollars, would get tangled up in prickly state politics and further delay the construction process.
I am not sure that the non-profit would be able to save between five and 20 percent on the cost of a new school, as Moore claims it could. Moore, however, is on the right track in seeking alternatives.