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MVRHS explores public-private funding for school, track

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Several members of the facilities subcommittee of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) committee plan to discuss the ways and means of public-private partnerships involving municipalities with a man familiar with the concept.

The subcommittee took the action at the suggestion of Island resident Fred Condon at its meeting Tuesday. Subcommittee members Amy Houghton and Kris O’Brien will join School Superintendent Matt D’Andrea and MVRHS finance director Mark Friedman on a conference call with John Boynton, a community-minded businessman from Concord.

Condon said he became aware of Boynton through Terry Donahue, who has been active in the movement to improve Island athletic fields. Boynton has worked on and facilitated “about 20 public-private partnerships in the Concord-Carlisle area, and has offered to share his experiences with MVRHS,” Condon said.

Several committee members have said they want to pursue the partnerships as a funding option for a renovation or replacement of the high school, as well as work on its athletic facilities.

A plan for a $100 million–plus replacement of the high school has been stalled for three years — unable to clear the hurdle of being selected by the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). The MSBA, the go-to funding agency for the state, offers up to 42 percent reimbursement on construction costs for approved projects. MVRHS is continuing to apply for MSBA money, as well as looking at public-private deals, D’Andrea said.

“There are real benefits to private investors in public-private partnerships, including tax write-offs and a small return on investment, as I understand the model,” Condon said.

The facilities group meets next on Tuesday, June 5, at 8 am at MVRHS.

 

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