Sask. Party’s P3 schools have seven non-Sask. corps sharing profits

The Sask. party awarded two massive P3 schools contracts Monday – to the same multi-national conglomerate – so seven non-Saskatchewan corporations and two Saskatchewan companies will take a profit from Saskatchewan children’s schools.

A large firm headquartered in Milwaukee will be responsible for maintenance and operations of Saskatchewan schools on two long-term contracts, likely about 30 years. P3 deals are costly complex ownership and financing schemes in which the province essentially rents its own schools from management conglomerates. In P3 deals, one or several large for-profit corporations put up the capital in exchange for a hefty profit and massive interest fees.

Corporations comprising the conglomerate, which calls itself Joint Use Mutual Partnership (JUMP), include:

  • from British Columbia, Concert Infrastructure;
  • from Ontario, Bird capital;
  • from Ontario, Bird Design-Build;
  • from Saskatoon, Wright Construction;
  • from Alberta, GEC Architecture;
  • from Saskatoon, Kindrachuk Agrey Architecture; and
  • from Milwaukee, Johnson Controls and its Canadian subsidiary offices.

“For private corporations to make a profit off operating our children’s schools on a 30-year contract, that money comes right from families in the form of more property taxes,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “And, to add insult to injury, the proponents aren’t even from Saskatchewan – the profits go directly to British Columbia, Ontario and out of country. Plus, the local construction industry is largely shut out of building our community’s schools.”

The NDP has been critical of the use of a P3 rent-to-own scheme in education, noting that it typically costs more; that local community access is restricted or made very expensive by the management company; and that the local economy, including the local construction industry, doesn’t benefit as they should from large-scale construction projects.