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 launches $1.5M initiative to provide technical assistance for charter school facilities development
Made possible by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation, new initiative will be piloted in Kansas City and Washington, D.C.
NEW YORK (September 12, 2019)—The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) today announced SchoolPrint: Charter School Project Management ™ (SchoolPrint), a new initiative to connect public charter school operators with experts in facilities development to help build top-quality schools—all while avoiding financial pitfalls that might otherwise eat into classroom resources.
Supported by a $1.5 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation, SchoolPrint will work with as many as 20 schools over the next year to assess their finances and their development capacity, and then connect them to pre-qualified organizations that can support their plans for new or expanded school facilities. LISC is piloting the effort in Kansas City, Mo., and Washington, D.C.
“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 Eva Schweitzer, LISC finance director who leads work on health and education issues.
Schweitzer explained that many charter operators do not have the in-house expertise they need to navigate a confusing menu of development options or effectively evaluate service providers. SchoolPrint is designed to add a new level of transparency to that process.
“This is critical, because an efficient approach can avoid design, build and financial difficulties that eventually impact what happens in the classroom,” explained Lee Chaffin, a construction project manager who is part of the SchoolPrint team.
SchoolPrint doesn’t duplicate existing market resources or compete with the myriad firms that currently service the charter sector, Schweitzer stressed. Rather, the new program will act as a portal to the community of service providers and help charter operators “connect the dots” so they can identify the right partners and deal terms. As part of the effort, LISC will also gather outcomes data that can further inform best practices for facilities development across the sector, she said.
“The number one issue is quality,” Schweitzer stressed. “That is as true in the development process as it is in the classroom.”
Both LISC and the Walton Family Foundation have long been engaged on issues of equity and education. LISC is a 40-year-old national nonprofit that has invested $20 billion to revitalize communities and catalyze opportunities for residents, including more than $238 million in loans, tax credit allocations, guarantees, and grants to support 80,000 seats for students at charter schools.
Through the Building Equity Initiative, the Walton Family Foundation supports efforts to make it easier and more affordable for public charter schools to find, secure and renovate facilities. The Initiative’s goal is to lessen the time and energy educators spend finding and securing buildings so more resources can go directly to students and teachers.
For more information on SchoolPrint: Charter School Project Management, contact Eva Schweitzer at eschweitzer@LISC.org or 202-739-9274.
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $20 billion to build or rehab 400,500 affordable homes and apartments and develop 66.8 million square feet of retail, community and educational space.