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Study reignites debate on school construction policy

Industry-backed report says union-friendly rules cost taxpayers more

Maureen Magee, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE

Thursday, July 21, 2011

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The study examined 551 construction projects in 180 California school districts between 1996 and 2008. Researchers compared 65 school projects operating under project labor agreements with 65 similar projects that were not, and found that PLA projects cost $28.90 to $32.49 more per square foot. The study did not include construction under San Diego Unified’s labor pact that was implemented two years ago.
“The last few years has seen a lot of debate about this — it has not just been controversial in San Diego, but it’s been controversial up and down the state,” said Erik Bruvold, one of the authors of “Measuring the Cost of Project Labor Agreements on School Construction in California.” “I hope this research informs those debates.”