Thursday, April 15, 2010

First prisons, now schools

Hot on the heels of its decision to build a private prison, the government is now planning on using PPPs for schools. Uunfortunately the media reports are unclear about whether the government will merely be using the PPP to fund construction (in which case it will effectively be a school run in rented facilities, which is not a big deal in principle) or whether a private company will be operating it as well. Support for the latter is given by Bill English's statement that

it will be a "worthwhile experiment" to allow one where the people who built the school are responsible for its operation, English said.
But of course we already have such experiments, in the form of private schools. So what does English think we would learn from such an "experiment"? How much excess profit a private operator can gouge out of the state through a poorly-negotiated, badly-worded contract? That's not an experiment I think is worth performing.