Legal Issues of School Construction
By Edwin C. Darden
Aside from personnel, a school district’s building stock is one of its biggest investments.
Therefore, when the board and superintendent decide a new school building is needed, a host of legal issues must be addressed long before the first jumbo-sized excavators move even a single grain of earth.
Major caveat: Many actions connected to school construction are governed by state law or regulations. Prudence dictates that you must consult your state statutes, your state education department regulations, municipal strictures, and other sources that give guidance on this subject.
The state of Massachusetts, for example, has nearly 20 different sections in its law, including a requirement that buildings have a useful life of 50 years, that they meet all building codes, and that local officials weigh the future maintenance costs.
This column will not cover every angle, but is intended to provide helpful information and spur you to action. The issues below should both raise awareness of sinkholes and spark questions worth asking as your deliberations unfold.
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