Lesson 5: Financing Educational Facilities
The Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (the PPEA) grants responsible public entities the authority to create public-private partnerships for the development of a wide range of projects for public use if the public entities determine there is a need for the project and that private involvement may provide the project to the public in a timely or cost-effective fashion. The PPEA defines “responsible public entity” to include any public entity that, “…has the power to develop or operate the applicable qualifying project”.
Individually negotiated interim or comprehensive agreements between a private entity and a responsible public entity will define the respective rights and obligations of the responsible public entity and the private entity.
In order for a project to come under the PPEA, it must meet the definition of a “qualifying project”. The PPEA contains a broad definition of qualifying project that includes public buildings and facilities of all types, for example:
(i) An education facility, including but not limited to a school building (including any stadium or other facility primarily used for school events), any functionally related and subordinate facility and land to a school building and any depreciable property provided for use in a school facility that is operated as part of the public school system or as an institution of higher education;
(ii) A building or facility that meets a public purpose and is developed or operated by or for any public entity;
(iii) Improvements, together with equipment, necessary to enhance public safety and security of buildings to be principally used by a public entity;
(iv) Utility and telecommunications and other communications infrastructure;
(v) A recreational facility;
(vi) Technology infrastructure, including but not limited to telecommunications, automated data processing, word processing and management information systems, and related information, equipment, goods and services; or
(vii) Any improvements necessary or desirable to any unimproved locally- or state-owned real estate.