Public forum on P3 schools announced

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May 6, 2014 by realrenewal

Regina’s Catholic and Public school boards will host a public forum on P3 schools on Thursday, May 15, in response to motions passed by electors at their annual meetings earlier this year. RealRenewal initiated a campaign to pass the motions, which called on the boards to forward a list of questions to the Ministry of Education, and report back to the public in two months’ time. Assistant Deputy Minister of Education Donna Johnson is scheduled to take part in the forum, which starts at 7 p.m. at Miller Comprehensive High School, 1027 College Ave.

The questions put forward by the electors were:

  1. What is the comparison of costs to build schools in Regina through public financing or a P3 model? Specifically, provide a comparison of private vs public borrowing costs and interest rates, transaction costs, amortization period, the private sector profit or return on equity, and an annual schedule of payments under the private or public model. Will payments be back-end loaded pushing the higher proportion of cost into the future?
  2. Who will own the new schools? Who will have the title to the school and carry the mortgage? Who will be responsible for insurance and maintenance costs? Who is responsible for monitoring the company and the contract? If the company hires sub-contractors, who is responsible for monitoring them?
  3. Will the P3 company or consortium have a long-term operation and/or maintenance contract? If yes, what will happen to existing maintenance and caretaking staff? Will the school division need permission from the company to modify the structure or hang any items such as bulletin boards on the walls? Will timely repairs and maintenance be delayed until the company can respond? Will school divisions have to pay for specific repairs and maintenance while also paying for a long-term operations and maintenance contract?
  4. Will the school design be flexible enough to accommodate local community needs? Will the community and/or their local governments be expected to pay for the building and maintenance of community space? Will students, staff and the general public continue to have access to schools or will that access be restricted or come with extra charges? Will the design include innovative green technologies and renovation and retrofitting of existing facilities wherever possible?
  5. Will local contractors, suppliers and workers benefit from the construction process under the P3 model as they have under the current model for building public schools?

There are of course many other questions that can and should be asked, including who chooses when and where new schools will be built, and what will happen if  the P3 model doesn’t raise sufficient interest among bidders.

RealRenewal and its many supporters can congratulate themselves for getting this issue on the public agenda. Well done, everyone! Join the event on Facebook.

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