Opponents of a public-private partnership to build public schools with private money in Prince George’s County are holding a virtual town hall Monday evening.
Prince George's County has an $8.5 billion backlog in school construction needs. "We don't seem to have enough money to maintain the schools that we currently have,” said Suchitra Balachandran of Our Revolution Prince George’s.
But community activists oppose the school system’s plan to fix the problem.“There are schools that need to be repaired, replaced, rebuilt, etc., but I think the question is at what cost,” Balachandran said.
The school system is proposing a public-private partnership, basically borrowing private money to build six new middle schools and repaying $1.24 billion over the next 30 years.
“This is the first time that a school, that a public school, will be built using a public-private partnership in the United States, so Prince George’s County is setting a precedent here,” said Jeremy Mohler of Within the Public Interest.
Prince George’s County Public Schools say under this deal it can build more schools faster and the private investors will pay for building maintenance over the next 33 years, but it's more expensive with higher interest rates around construction.