A Funding Alternative for School Cafeterias, Libraries or Makerspace Renovations and Remodeling

 A challenge for all of us is funding the necessary improvements required for our high use and critical school areas, specifically our cafeterias, libraries and maker spaces. The lack of funding often prevents our kids from access to technology and a space that is conducive to the hands on collaborative learning environments. Worse yet, is the low participation rates in cafeterias because the environment is cold and sterile, not a place you want to be in.

So how do we effect and drive a change in these environments without proper funding? One of the most overlooked tools for funding a school cafeteria, library or makerspace is leasing of the furniture, fixtures, graphics and equipment. Leasing is a common tool used by districts for big ticket items such as buses, snow plowing equipment, lawn care equipment, athletic turfs and scoreboards. However, leasing is rarely used in areas that have a direct impact on our ability to provide proper equipment and environments for our students. Chances are your school already leases equipment.

Most leases are lease to own, in other words after the term of the lease you will own all of the items financed. The average monthly cost of a $100,000.00 lease with a term of 5 years is typically less than $2,000 per month. Most cafeterias increase participation and therefore pay for, or exceed the monthly lease cost, creating a profit center.

Leasing packages along with the furniture, fixtures and equipment are available through legal cooperative bid services. NJPA (National Joint Powers Alliance), a governmental agency that offers National Co-op purchasing, offers a leasing program already bid nationally. They are National Cooperative Leasing (www.nationalcooperativeleasing.com). In most cases, these are tried and true legal options.  However, if there is any question on whether or not your district can take advantage of these pre-bid programs, NJPA (www.njpacoop.org)  can assist in guiding you, your district and your districts legal advisors through the process.

With a little effort and research, you too can drive change using leasing as a tool to do so.

Jeff Schreiner

V.P. Sales and Marketing

Palmer Hamilton

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