(The following appeared in the July 22, 2006 edition of the News and Observer):
North Carolina’s schools got a major boost with the passage of legislation to support Public/Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the state’s general assembly this week.
Many of the school systems statewide, including in the Triangle, are stretched to the limits. In Wake County alone, the need for 20,000 additional seats for new students is expected over the next five years and has prompted grueling school reassignments, year-round school debates and other controversial means to accommodate the growth. The community is running out of options as many proposed solutions have fallen short.
The Triangle Community Coalition has long-urged North Carolina to adopt PPP legislation as a creative, viable and long-term solution to help alleviate the growing need for more schools. Based on real-life examples in other communities, PPPs promise to leverage the strengths of the private sector—speed and efficiency—to support the needs of the public sector.
Unlike other proposed funding sources, PPPs do not require asking local governments or voters for additional money.
Now, with the support of the NC legislature, local governments like Wake County can begin to embark on these partnerships and help provide the best long-term solution for the school construction and school growth dilemma we face. The TCC lauds North Carolina’s legislature for taking a chance on a promising, creative alternative to school growth and is eager to see it develop into a real answer to our community’s school construction needs.