Interserve, Bam Construct and Shepherd have been confirmed as the three shortlisted construction companies for the £180m Stockton Building Schools for the Future contract.
One bidder will be eliminated from the running in June, before a preferred bidder is chosen by the end of this year.
The successful contractor will build two academies and carry out extensive refurbishments of seven community schools, two special schools and a pupil referral unit over the next 10 to 15 years.
Bishopsgarth School and Ian Ramsey Church of England School will be the first schools in the borough to be revamped through the programme.
Stockton Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, councillor Alex Cunningham said: “I am looking forward to seeing each of the bidder’s ideas develop. I am confident that the successful consortium will help us create learning environments which will fully support and compliment new ways of teaching and learning in our schools.”