In the April 1997 Budget Address to the House of Assembly the
Minister of Finance announced that all future school construction
projects in the Province of Nova Scotia would be built under public-private
partnership (P3) arrangements. The government has made a public
policy decision with respect to school construction - schools
will be built without adding to the debt of the Province. There
are three possible approaches to implementing this public policy
- reduce expenses or increase revenues to the extent required
to offset the related capital expenditures, or enter into operating
leases with the private sector. The government has chosen the
latter approach which precludes the Province from considering
other options for individual schools that could possibly, in some
circumstances, result in better value for money.
[Roy Salmon, Auditor General - http://www.gov.ns.ca/audg/oconll/oclc3.htm#intro]
In 1997, Nova Scotia Department of Education and Culture undertook
to build 55 new schools by September 2004. These schools were
to be built as a "Public Private Partnership" between
the Province, School Boards and the private sector. New schools
under these partnerships were to be designed, built and financed
by the private sector and leased to the Province. Leases were
to be based on a predetermined all-inclusive price covering construction,
operation, maintenance and new technology costs for 20 years.
In a press realease from the Department of Education and Culture
on March 13/98 it stated ,"In all partnership arrangements,
the Province and School Boards remained responsible for building
standards and all educational issues. Teachers, parents
and communities were also extensively involved in planning and
design of their schools. Technolgoy and information resources
within the new schools were to be shared with neighbouring schools."
For a detailed background on the original plans check out the
Auditor General's report: http://www.gov.ns.ca/audg/oconll/oclc3.htm
The jury is out on who benefited from Nova Scotia's public-private
partnership for the building of schools and from the decision
to cancel it. http://www.summitconnects.com/Articles_Columns/Summit_Articles/2001/0301/0301_Schools_out.htm
The impact of school privatization on communities has been considerable.
This CUPE report is worth a look.