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Charter School Facility Finance Landscape

2014 Charter School Facility Financing Landscape

The Charter School Facility Finance Landscape is the most comprehensive source for information about how charter schools fund their real estate projects. These studies have been published since 2005. The Landscape is designed to educate policymakers, charter school operators, bond investors, real estate developers, education reporters and others interested in the sector, and to help advocates make informed decisions about how best to expand high-quality charter schools.

The 2014 Charter School Facility Finance Landscape provides a robust overview of current financing options for charter schools, from foundations to nonprofit financing organizations, as well as a detailed description of the tax-exempt bond market for charter schools. Federal and state policies that support charter school facilities, including tax credit programs, credit enhancement and loan programs and conduit issuer activity, are also detailed.

Key Findings

  • Of 43 states with charter laws in place, only 16 provide per pupil funding specifically for facilities, with only three states (Arizona, Minnesota and Washington D.C.) providing more than $1,000 on a per pupil basis.
  • State credit enhancement programs, such as moral obligations and the Texas Permanent School Fundrepresent one of the most effective and least costly options available for facilities financing.
  • In Utah, for example, eight schools have gained access to the state’s credit enhancement program over the last two years, giving them the chance to access the municipal market with higher rated bonds. Those eight schools are saving an estimated $38 million over the life of their bonds, according to David Damschen, chief deputy in the Utah State Treasurer’s Office.

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