115C-530. Operational leases of school buildings and school facilities.

(a) Local boards of education may enter into operational leases of real or personal property for use as school buildings or school facilities. Operational leases for terms of less than three years shall not be subject to the approval of the board of county commissioners. Operational leases for terms of three years or longer, including periods that may be added to the original term through the exercise of options to renew or extend, are permitted if all of the following conditions are met:

(1) The budget resolution includes an appropriation authorizing the current fiscal year's portion of the obligation.

(2) An unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay in the current fiscal year the sums obligated by the lease for the current fiscal year.

(3) The leases are approved by a resolution adopted by the board of county commissioners. If an operational lease is approved by the board of county commissioners, in each year the county commissioners shall appropriate sufficient funds to meet the amounts to be paid during the fiscal year under the lease.

(4) Any construction, repair, or renovation of the property is in compliance with the requirements of G.S. 115C-521(c) relating to energy guidelines.

For purposes of this section, an operational lease is defined according to generally accepted accounting principles and may be for new or existing buildings.

(b) Local boards of education may enter into contracts for the construction, repair, or renovation of leased property if (i) the budget resolution includes an appropriation authorizing the obligation, (ii) an unencumbered balance remains in the appropriation sufficient to pay in the current fiscal year the sums obligated by the transaction for the current fiscal year, and (iii) the construction, repair, or renovation is in compliance with the requirements of G.S. 115C-521(c) relating to energy guidelines. Construction, repair, or renovation work undertaken or contracted by a private developer is subject to the requirements of Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes. Contracts for new construction and renovation that are subject to the bidding requirements of G.S. 143-129(a) and which do not constitute continuing contracts for capital outlay must be approved by the board of county commissioners.

(c) Operational leases and contracts entered into under this section are subject to approval by the Local Government Commission under Article 8 of Chapter 159 of the General Statutes if they meet the standards set out in G.S. 159-148(a)(1), 159-148(a)(2), and 159-148(a)(3). For purposes of determining whether the standards set out in G.S. 159-148(a)(3) have been met, only the five hundred thousand dollar ($500,000) threshold shall apply. (1997-236, s. 2; 2010-196, s. 3.)