Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Policy & Administration

First Advisor

William C. Jr Bosher


A number of studies show that school facilities in the United States are deteriorating and that a substantial outlay of financial capital is required to bring school facilities to good overall condition. The current economic environment, marked by slow growth, high unemployment, and low tax revenues has highlighted widespread issues with the financial condition and fiscal sustainability of local governments. While studies show that the success of the educational process is related to the condition of school facilities, providing a safe and effective educational environment for students and teachers is a great challenge for local governments. Alternative sources of funding for the rehabilitation of old schools, which would reduce the need for long-term debt financing, are worth exploring. Federal and state historic rehabilitation tax incentive programs have proven to be successful in bringing private capital, economic activity, and jobs to distressed areas around the country, while being largely fiscally self sustaining. Current legislation, however, does not make the federal tax credit program easily accessible to public schools, and a significant court decision has the potential to undermine the viability of the entire Virginia program. This study examined the financial costs and benefits of historic tax credit financing for school construction in Virginia, investigated administrative issues related to the private-public nature of the program, and finally analyzed the relevant public policy issues. The study followed a case study methodology of two schools in Virginia which utilized historic tax credit financing, and four schools which utilized traditional financing for renovation. This study will expand the body of knowledge of modern education financing and enrich the existing literature by introducing a financing alternative that includes a private-public partnership. The study will also be of great value to policymakers, public administrators, the investor community, and the public at large as they evaluate financing alternatives for school construction.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2011