After North Carolina lawmakers allowed developers to own and lease schools to public districts, many hoped it would be a quick, cheap solution to the state's classroom crunch. The idea was that free-market deal-cutting and ingenuity would let developers cut costs and build more innovative schools, which they would lease to public districts. School officials, often stymied by the slow pace of public approval for construction money, could beat rising construction costs and get kids in classrooms faster. But as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools inches toward its first such project, those benefits haven't materialized. School officials and developers say the law inhibits cost-cutting by locking private builders into a public bidding process.