This week is National Charter Schools Week, and LISC is pleased to announce a second round of $800,000 Spark Opportunity Grants to 21 persevering charters schools across the country—schools that have demonstrated their commitment to educating diverse populations of students and to organizational and academic excellence. The awards will help these schools pursue renovations or build new permanent facilities.
LISC and the Walton Family Foundation have launched a new grant program to help charter school operators open facilities in Opportunity Zones and other under-capitalized communities. Applications are available beginning October 1.
LISC has launched a new program to help connect charter school operators to experts in facilities development. Called SchoolPrint: Charter School Project Management, the program will advance development plans that deliver top-notch school facilities while also keeping dollars in the classroom. “Our goal is to protect the interests of students and teachers, and to fuel the development of schools that are assets to their communities,” noted LISC's Eva Schweitzer.
LISC has been awarded $6.9 million by the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program. We will use this support to “expand access to capital and in many cases lower the cost of capital for schools. This in turn keeps scarce resources in the classroom, paying for great teachers, curriculum and other program supports,” said Sara Sorbello, LISC’s Vice President of Charter School Financing.
Is it possible to put more dollars into charter school classrooms without increasing the cost to taxpayers? A new study by LISC and Charter School Advisors on the charter school bond market says it is. Three states have developed programs that extend their strong credit ratings to qualified schools so they can raise low-cost capital to build and expand. That saves schools millions of dollars in borrowing costs that are then redirected to meet the needs of teachers and kids. LISC's Reena Abraham noted that academic performance is a key indicator of credit quality. "Good schools have proven to be good investments."