This paper attempts to identify benchmark considerations when entertaining the question of private management of public school facilities. Management possibilities include contracting for services and charter conversion. The paper also highlights elements of contract law pertinent to formal agreements made between school districts and private providers. In the early stages of doing business with private providers, care must be taken to control the spin of public opinion. Building support for reform efforts is an incremental process requiring a constant flow of factual information, anecdotal evidence, and independent research findings. Emphasis must be placed on beginning contract negotiations early in the process to ensure that all provisions are artfully crafted and meet with broad acceptance--particularly important when negotiating how those provisions affect existing labor agreements. The paper includes a suggested list of contract contents, starting with recitals/preamble; definitions; establishment or determination of school sites; term of agreement and starting date; mission statement; goals, objectives, and pupil performance standards; and financial arrangements, among other provisions. This list provides a starting point for drafting the contract between school authorities and a school management vendor.
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