NCEF Resource List: Funding Partnerships for School Construction
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Information on financing school construction and renovation through partnerships between schools and the private sector, community organizations, public agencies, and school districts.

References to Books and Other Media

Solar Schools Assessment and Implementation Project: Financing Options for Solar Installations on K-12 Schools. Adobe PDF
Coughlin, J.; Kandt, A.
(U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO, Oct 2011)
Details best practices for financing and installing photovoltaic (PV) systems on school buildings. The report focuses on financial options developed specifically for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Some highlights of the report include: an introduction to financing PV installations on schools; a look at the direct-ownership option, which takes advantage of financing mechanisms such as general funds, bonds, construction funds, and grants; and a review of the third-party finance model, including power purchase agreements and energy services performance contracts. In addition to comparing a range of financing options for PV installations, the report provides real-world examples of financing solar installations on K-12 schools and other public facilities. These examples may be used by school districts around the country to help them navigate the process of financing PV installations. 38p

Facilities Financing: Monetizing Education's Untapped Resource
Kothari, Himanshu
(American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Aug 08, 2011)
The enormous costs and burdens of outmoded facilities arrangements represent an immense opportunity for the nation's school systems. In this paper, the author explores the causes of the nation's $300 billion funding shortfall in K-12 facilities and offers concrete recommendations to address this troubling trend. The author posits that public-private partnerships are a promising avenue for tapping the resources needed to address capital needs, but that current financial conditions in K-12 scare off potential investors. By overhauling facilities financing and exploring innovative approaches, policymakers can create the space for private investors to support school facilities. Helping schools better meet their facilities needs, the author argues, entails: (1) Holding educators and schools accountable for academic "and" financial performance; (2) Loosening regulations that limit the reach of charter schools and other nontraditional programs; and (3) Creating more opportunities for schools to take advantage of nontraditional financing options. Enacting such measures, the author asserts, will allow for a more stable and investor-friendly system for financing facilities. [Author's abstract]

Greening the Bottom Line: The Trend Toward Green Revolving Funds on Campus.
(Sustainable Endowments Institute , Feb 2011)
Reports on a survey conducted about green revolving funds (GRFs) in higher education. Research for the report took place between November 2009 and January 2011 and includes data from 52 universities in 25 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces. Details how GRFs help cut operating expenses and greenhouse gas emissions at 52 schools. Funds surveyed range in size from $5,000 at the College of Wooster to $12 million at Harvard University, with an average size of $1.4 million. The breakthrough in this approach is how cost savings are used to replenish the fund for investment in the next round of green upgrades. 50p.

A Textbook Example: Why American Schools Must Go Green.
( , Sep 08, 2010)
Profiles a public/private partnership, assisted by grants, that enabled a Connecticut school to install a photovoltaic array on its roof at no cost to the district, while allowing immediate access to cheaper electricity that will save $25,000 in the first year alone. 2p.

?P3 Value for Money Assessment and Project Report. Alberta Schools Alternative Procurement (ASAP) Project Phase 1 Adobe PDF
(Government of Alberta, Canada, Jun 2010)
This report explains what a P3 is and why it may be used, provides a value for money assessment of the P3 for 18 new schools, and provides a project report. By using a Public Private Partnership (P3) to design, build, finance and maintain 18 schools in Calgary and Edmonton, the Alberta government saved $97 million over 32 years (in today’s dollars) compared to a traditional approach ($634 million instead of $731 million, a 13% savings)1. It will also deliver the schools two years earlier than with traditional methods. The government chose a P3 to deliver the Alberta Schools Alternative Procurement Phase 1 project, known as ASAP 1. The assessment shows that using a P3 delivered value for money and that it was the right way to procure the 18 schools. 23p

The School Libraries Project. .
(An Initiative of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, 2010)
This describes a community-based, public/private partnership effort to renovate libraries at eight District of Columbia schools. The goal is to turn school libraries into first-class libraries with beautiful, inviting spaces that welcome children and provide community space after school hours. The Capitol Hill Community Foundation is working with the Washington Architectural Foundation and the architects who have been assigned to each school to develop designs.

Joint Use of Public Schools: A Framework for a New Social Contract. Adobe PDF
Filardo, Mary; Vincent, Jeffrey; Allen, Marni; Franklin, Jason
(21st Century School Fund, Washington, DC , 2010)
Explores joint use as a way to provide services to children and families in convenient locations, improve opportunities for physical activity of youth and adults, leverage capital investments, and reduce the consumption of land. The report attempts to frame the basic challenges and opportunities for joint use to increase the quantity and quality of joint use policy and practice. 17p.

References to Journal Articles

Funding Our Future: Creative Financing Boosts School Construction
School Construction News; May 09, 2012
Public-private partnerships (P3s) are emerging as a promising way to tap the resources needed to address schools’ capital needs. Discusses public-private partnerships that are focused on renewable energy. In a different P3 scenario, school districts issue bonds and then loan the proceeds of their efforts to private developers, who in turn build the school. Once completed, the facility is leased to the district on a long-term basis at a lesser cost than the construction itself.

Funding Building Projects in a Tough Economy
Love, Paula
District Administration; Apr 2012
Outlines sources for hidden funding to help construct and maintain school buildings, including local and state tax revenues, with some limited support from state and small federal initiatives; Local School Construction Bonds and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds; Impact Aid Discretionary Construction Grant Program and the Impact Aid Facilities Maintenance Program; Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program and the State Charter School Incentive Grants Program; Department of Defense Military Construction Program; State Energy Program Grants; Department of Agriculture Rural Community Facilities Program. Also describes competitive grant funds from federal or state agencies or from private grants awarded by community and corporate foundations.

Public-Private Partnerships Offer Key Option for Academic Lab Buildings.
Laboratory Design; v15 n2 , p1,6,8-10 ; Mar-Apr 2011
Recommends public-private partnerships for construction of new lab buildings, contracting with a developer rather than with a design/build team. In many instances, the developer also operates the building once it is completed. Topics include establishing a collaborative team, financing options, final fixed price, preproposal work, establishing the scope, basis of design, maintenance and operations, and management of changes.

Government and Private Enterprise--A Model Partnership Delivering Outstanding Schools. Adobe PDF
Ross, Mick
Educational Facility Planner; v45 n1/2 , p28-32 ; 2011
Discusses the Victoria (Australia) Department of Education and Early Childhood Development's Program Management of Schools Capital Works. Current state funding, capital improvement programs, design management, and sustainability efforts are addressed.

Let a Developer Build Your School.
Finke, John
Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce; Jul 22, 2010
Advocates for use of public-private partnerships in school buildings, which enables districts to access the skills and efficiencies of private developers, while minimizing the financial risk by barring cost overruns.

Industry Takes a Leading Role in New Skills Center.
Oremus, Kevin
Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce; Jul 22, 2010
Profiles the Northwest Career and Technical Academy in Skagit County, Washington. The new technical and career training facility is the result of a coalition of the local school system, Skagit Valley College, and private service industries.

Why Invest in Innovation for Education?
Moore, Deborah
School Planning and Management; v49 n5 , p6 ; May 2010
Briefly describes foundation and other non-profit efforts to improve education, including school design.

Integrated Existence.
School Construction News; v16 n2 , p14-16 ; Mar-Apr 2010
Discusses the design and delivery of the Cronkite School at Arizona State University. The article focuses on this joint city/university project, the time and site constraints, and the project management method.

Flexible and Alternative Approaches to Providing School Infrastructure in Alberta, Canada.
Matichuk, Allison
CELE Exchange; n2010/02 , p1-6 ; Mar 2010
Discusses Alberta's creative ways of providing school infrastructure that meets the needs of 21st century learning. Solutions are being found through the use of alternative financing and procurement arrangements and through innovative approaches to creating flexible school facilities.

When Times Get Tough, The Tough Get Creative!
Moore, Deborah
School Planning and Management; v49 n3 , p6 ; Mar 2010
Lists creative cost-saving and revenue-generating plans that some school districts are implementing to close budget shortfalls.

Facilities Funding Thaws.
Roger Bruszewski; Jung, Sam; Turner, Jeffrey
Business OFficer; Jan 2010
Discusses the trend toward public-private partnerships in higher education construction. Privatized housing is highlighted, as are benefits of federal stimulus funds and the tight bond market. Examples of seven creatively funded capital projects are described.



Due to lack of funding, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities is currently available only as an archived site. As of September 1, 2012 no new content will be added or updates made. We regret the need to take such steps, but should funding become available, we look forward to reinvigorating NCEF and providing this valuable resource to the educational facilities community.

If you have questions or are an organization or company wishing to support the continued operation of this industry recognized resource please contact Institute President Henry Green (, 202-289-7800).