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The Nova Scotia government has cut P3 developers out of the process of choosing sites for new schools.

On December 8 the province’s deputy minister of education announced that school boards and community representatives would decide where a new school should be built, eliminating private developers from the equation. Since the former Liberal government announced every new school would be built by public private partnerships, there have been numerous complaints of developers exerting undue influence over site selection.

Community outrage and a concerted CUPE campaign have forced the Conservative government to admit the serious conflict of interest that exists when private companies get involved in public services. Under the P3 scheme, corporate 006e006f0074 community 0069006e0074erests dictated where new schools were built, with developers pushing to build leaseback schools near land they owned to hike property values.

In one recent example Kentville parents are challenging a June site selection, charging that the private interests of the consortium chair, who owns several hectares of land beside the selected site and is a Liberal party supporter, unduly influenced the process. The school board, unable to reach a consensus, left the decision to the consortium 006100200064angerous breach in public process and accountability.

All eyes are now on the upcoming review of 17 outstanding P3 school projects being conducted by accounting firm KPMG. The results of the review will be released in January.

With Wednesday’s admission and mounting evidence that P3 schools cost more than publicly financed and owned buildings, KPMG should recommend that the government has no choice but to abandon plans for any more privately owned schools.

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