Elected officials have been reluctant to relinquish public property, and question the financial information provided by Director of Administration Michael Handler, who heads SAMG. Handler said a private company can build and maintain schools for 70 percent less than the city. During the board discussions of the last few months, elected officials asked about SAMG’s authority to sell public property to a private developer. Kosta Diamantis, director of the state Department of Administrative Services’ Office of School Construction Grants, said schools built under such a deal would not be eligible for state money. But the city would be free of state construction regulations for bidding and issuing requests for proposals to developers, he said.