NCEF Resource List: Charter School Facilities Funding
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Information on public and private funding options for the design, construction, renovation, lease, or purchase of charter school buildings, compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities. See also NCEF Resource List on Case Studies - Charter Schools and other related lists on funding sources.

References to Books and Other Media

Handbook: Developing Charter School Facilities.
(California Charter Schools Association, Jan 05, 2012)
A handbook designed to help charter-school operators navigate the ins-and-outs of the facility acquisition process. Covers topics such as developing a facility-needs inventory, zoning regulations, building a new school from the ground up, and much more 61p

Quality Schools: Every Child, Every School, Every Neighborhood. An Analysis of School Location and Performance in Washington, D.C. Adobe PDF
(Illinois Facility Fund, Jan 2012)
Study recommends that Washington, D.C., overhaul or close more than three dozen traditional public schools in its poorest neighborhoods and expand the number of high-performing charter schools. After explaining the research methodology, the study provides a district-wide analysis, with findings and recommendations. Includes maps and tables. 80p

Consensus for Reform: A Plan for Collaborative School Co-locations. Adobe PDF
Manners, Nicholle; Ramirez, Ursulina
(Office of Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate of the City of New York , Jul 2011)
New York City Department of Education is trying to expand public charter options. A major challenge of charter expansion is finding school space to support the new school enrollments. But, as critical, is finding space for a co-location where it will not compromise the educational opportunities of students attending the school or schools already in place. This report identifies challenges and makes recommendations on processes and guidelines for co-location. The recommendations advocate for greater participation from parents, community leaders, and seasoned professionals throughout the co-location process not to increase bureaucracy, but to highlight the connection between equity and space. 33p.

Charter School Bond Issuance: A Complete History. Adobe PDF
Balboni, Elise; Berry, Wendy; Wolfson, Charles
(Educational Financing Facilities Center of Local Initiatives Support Corp (LISC) , Jun 2011)
Examines the 13-year history of the charter school tax-exempt bond sector. Identifies the universe of 500 rated and unrated facilities transactions, provides cost and pricing information and examines the repayment performance of charter school borrowers to date. 64p.

A Decade of Results: Charter School Loan & Operating Performance Adobe PDF
(Quantitative Economics and Statistics Practice of Ernst & Young, May 2011)
This report looks at the performance of charter school loans over the last decade. It reflects data from 15 lenders representing $1.2 billion in charter school loans over 10 years. Of these loans, only 1.0% of the total loan amount in the study ended in foreclosure. Among outstanding loans, just over 3% were reported as delinquent for 60 days or more at any point in their history. The study found a correlation between loan performance and factors such as academic performance, the size of the school, prevalence of charter schools within a district, and occupancy costs. 56p.

Navigating the Closure Process. Issue Brief. Adobe PDF
Shaw, Matthew
(The National Association of Charter School Authorizers, May 2011)
Provide a practice-oriented resource for authorizers and other charter school stakeholders to navigate the closure process after the decision to close a charter school has been made. Summarizes how to close a charter school in a responsible and efficient manner. Covers what to anticipate from stakeholders and the key elements of planning a closure. 8p.

Making Room for New Public Schools. How Innovative School Districts are Learning to Share Public Education Facilities with Charter Schools. Adobe PDF
Sazon, Maria C.
(National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, Apr 2011)
Provides seven case studies of districts where superintendents and school boards are instituting policies and creating practices that allow charter schools to take over or occupy underutilized and unused public buildings. This report also identifies strong policies to ensure charter schools have equitable access to surplus school district space. 36p.

District of Columbia Charter Schools. Criteria for Awarding School Buildings to Charter Schools Needs Additional Transparency. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Governmental Accountability Office. Report to Congressional Commitee, Mar 2011)
Almost 40 percent of all public school students in the District of Columbia were enrolled in charter schools in the 2010-11 school year. The report includes a review of the D.C. Public Charter School Board's new system for overseeing charter schools and provides details about the funding and characteristics of the city's charter schools. GAO recommended that the Mayor of the District of Columbia direct the Department of Real Estate Services to disclose all factors considered in reviewing charter school offers for former D.C. school buildings and make available to schools, in writing, the reasons the offers were rejected. 44p.
Report NO: GAO-11-263

Charter School Capital Outlay [Florida]
(Florida Department of Education, Office of Educational Facilities, 2011)
Annual reports on Florida's capital outlay for charter schools, back to 1998.

Measuring Up to the Model. A Ranking of State Charter School Laws. Second Edition. Adobe PDF
(National Alliance for Public Charter Schools , Jan 2011)
Analyzes the country’s 41 state charter laws and scores how well each supports charter school quality and growth based on the 20 essential components from the NAPCS’s model charter school law. This report captures state legislation affecting the charter school movement in the last year, including moves states made to be more competitive under the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top program. Includes a chapter on Leaders in Facilities Support Policies. 113p.

A Growing Movement: America's Largest Charter School Communities.
(National Alliance for Public Charter Schools , Nov 2010)
Describes the impact of the growth of public charter schools on selected public school districts. Four major cities now have at least 30 percent of public school students enrolled in charter schools, and in 16 other cities more than 20 percent of public school students go to charter schools, 10 more cities than five years ago. 8p.

Equal or Fair? A Study of Revenues and Expenditures in American Charter Schools.
(University of Colorado, Education and the Public Interest Center, Boulder , Jun 2010)
Uses national data to provide review of charter school finance and uncovers patterns in both income and expenditures. Charter schools managed by education management organizations (EMOs) receive particular attention. The study's research questions focus on examining and comparing the amounts and sources of revenues and expenditures between charter schools and traditional public schools, and among several categories of charter school. 77p.

2010 Charter School Facility Finance Landscape.
Balboni, Elise, et al
(Local Initiatives Support Corporation, New York, NY , Jun 2010)
This is an updated mapping survey of private nonprofit and public financing programs for charter school facilities across the nation, including information on charter school access to the tax-exempt bond market. It includes descriptions of private philanthropies and nonprofit organizations active in the sector and detailed data on all rated charter school bond issuances through 2009. Performance data is provided for both loans and tax-exempt bond issues. Public initiatives are also detailed, including federal programs supportive of charter school facilities and state policies in all 40 jurisdictions with a charter law. 64p.

The Evaluation of Charter School Impacts. Adobe PDF
Gleason, Philip; Clark, Melissa; Tuttle, Christina; Dwoyer, Emily; Silverberg, Marsha
(U.S. Department of Education, Nationca Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Washington , Jun 2010)
Evaluates outcomes in 36 charter middle schools in 15 states. The report compares the outcomes of 2,330 students who applied to these schools and were randomly assigned by lotteries to be admitted (lottery winners) or not admitted (lottery losers) to the schools. Both sets of students were tracked over two years and data on student achievement, academic progress, behavior, and attitudes were collected. Among the key findings were that, on average, charter middle schools that held lotteries were neither more nor less successful than traditional public schools in improving math or reading test scores, attendance, grade promotion, or student conduct within or outside of school. 264p.
Report NO: NCEE 2010-4029

The Changing Field of Facilities Financing.
(National Charter School Resource Center , May 19, 2010)
The Charter School Center's May 2010 newsletter focuses on recent developments that may help charters better meet facility needs, including federal bond programs and growing interest by investors. It profiles YES Prep, a network of open enrollment charter schools in Houston which took advantage of Qualified School Construction Bonds and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds to finance a $22 million expansion program.

Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists. Adobe PDF
(Ball State University, Muncie, IN , May 2010)
Reports on funding inequities between district and charter schools, with particular deficiencies in funding for charter school facilities. Charts illustrate where funding disparity for charter school facilities at the local, state, and federal levels exist. The difficulty of obtaining quality data is noted, as are changes in the situation over the last four years. 53p.

Comparing the Level of Public Support: Charter Schools versus Traditional Public Schools.
(New York City Independent Bugdet Office , Feb 2010)
Reports that New York City charter schools receive $300 less per student than district schools, if housed in a public school building, but that charter schools that own their own buildings or lease them receive more than $3,000 less per student in public funding than district schools. Critics counter that charter schools, especially those housed in city-owned buildings, receive many hidden subsidies that either equalize or boost charter school resources above what district schools receive. Because of the complicated ways charter schools and district schools are funded, a fair comparison of how much money district and charter schools actually spend on students is difficult to draw. Questions of how charter schools are funded, and the effect of the city's practice of granting public building space to charters, are currently under heavy public scrutiny. 9p.

Report to the Community: Charter School Financing: Challenges, Opportunities and Lessons Learned.
(Low Income Investment Fund, Oakland, CA , 2010)
Describes the results of a survey of six of the most active nonprofit and for-profit groups engaged in charter school facility financing across the country. Collectively, survey participants have made approximately 220 loans totaling nearly $200 million to charter schools. The report includes their experiences, challenges faced, and lessons learned with respect to their charter school loan portfolios. Survey questions explored topics such as motivations for engaging in charter school lending, characteristics of the market, size and structure of loans, strategies for mitigating risk, challenges and success factors.

The Sustainable Answer Key: A Guide to Building a Sustainable, High-Performance Charter School Facility.
(NCB Capital Impact, Arlington, VA , 2010)
Provides a step-by-step guide for integrating sustainable building features into a charter school facility. The guides includes an overview of the benefits of green schools, worksheets, advice on critical issues, organizational tips and other useful information vital for the project. Sections cover determining project goals, developing the plan, designing the facility, building commissioning, and financing. Seven case studies and a glossary of green terminology are included. 71p.

A New Life for the Franklin School: Connecting the Past to the Present.
Simon, Chaya Rachel
(Theses, University of Maryland, 2010)
When the Franklin School was built in 1869 in the heart of Franklin Square, a vibrant area of Washington, D.C., the school was the gold standard for D.C. public schools. However, over the years, the building and its surrounding neighborhood have deteriorated. Franklin Square has become a business district active only during business hours, with an underused park. The school, which is currently empty, has undergone a few renovations, but the interior of the building has deteriorated. Despite its emptiness, it remains the only lasting memory of Franklin Square's vibrant past. By redeveloping the Franklin School into a new and accessible public charter school and connecting it to the park, the two can become a catalyst to re-activate the area. By testing different approaches to adaptive re-use, this thesis will explore ways to reconnect the building and its surroundings to the past.[Author's abstract]

Accountability in Action: A Comprehensive Guide to Charter School Closure. Adobe PDF
Wechtenhiser, Kim; Wade, Andrew; Lin, Margaret
(National Association of Charter School Authorizers, 2010)
When the decision has been made to close a charter school, this guide provides detailed information about procedures, case studies, a sample closure plan and checklist, and sample letters to various constituencies. It has six chapters: "Why Good Authorizers Should Close Bad Schools"; "The Evidence Base Needed for School Closure"; "Closure: Timing, Process and Appeals"; "Authorizing Boards and Executives"; "Supporting Students and Families"; and "Message Matters in Closure Decisions." 80p

A Cost Estimation Tool for Charter Schools.
(National Resouce Center on Charter School Finance and Governance, Washington, DC , Oct 2009)
Assists new public charter school operators identify and estimate the range of costs and the timing of expenditures they will be obligated to cover during start-up and the early years of operation. The tool includes templates and worksheets covering a wide range of areas, including enrollment and facilities needs. A cost estimation template is included. 28p.

Summaries of State Charter School Facility Laws
(U.S.Department of Education, State Charter School Facilities Incentives Grant Program, 2009)
Some states have passed state charter school facilities laws that provide per-pupil facilities aid for charter schools. This provides summaries of laws from California, District of Columbia, Minnesota, and Utah, including links to the legislation and regulations for each state.

U.S. Charter Schools: Facilities.
(US Charter Schools, 2009)
Good compilation of charter school facilites information, including background, planning, needs assessment, site selection, financing, and resources.

Annual Survey of America's Charter Schools.
(The Center for Education Reform, Washington, DC , Jul 2008)
Summarizes the current state of charter schools, indicating that charter schools tend to be smaller in size than public schools, and also illustrating the various, and often unconventional, facilities that they occupy. 24p.

Shortchanged Charters: How Funding Disparities Hurt Colorado's Charter Schools. Adobe PDF
(Colorado League of Charter Schools, Denver , Apr 2008)
Present key findings of an assessment of Colorado's charter school facilities that include: 1) Charter schools are forced to spend operating funds on their facilities. 2) Every year tens of thousands of Colorado students are denied a seat in a charter school because of a lack of available space. 3) Most charter schools have limited capacity to serve federally-subsidized meals for students from lower-income families. 4) Charter school facilities are too small. 5) Physical education and recreational options are limited for charter school students. 6) State grant funding for public school facilities has provided little benefit for charters. 7) Local bond elections are not a reliable source of funding for charter school facilities. 16p.

Implementation of the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program. Final Report. Adobe PDF
Temkin, Kenneth; Hong, Grace; Davis, Laurel; Bavin, William
(U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Washington, DC , Apr 2008)
Describes how recipients of federal charter school facility grants implemented their activities, as outlined in their Program document. Findings include: 1) The Program provides for improved access of charter schools to capital markets for facilities; 2) The Program provides for better rates and terms on financing than would otherwise be available for the charter schools served by the Program Grantees; 3) Results regarding the differences between a vertically integrated model and a fully distributed model of service are preliminary: analysis does not provide conclusive evidence that favors one model over another; 4) Grantees used selection criteria to choose assisted schools that include: extent to which the applicant selects geographic service areas in which a large proportion or number of public schools have been identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring; extent to which the applicant selects geographic service areas in which a large proportion of students perform below proficient on state academic assessments; and extent to which the applicant selected communities to serve with large proportions of low-income students; 5) Based on a review of loan-level data and information provided by Grantees and assisted schools, there was evidence that Grantees are using innovative methods, especially related to helping charter schools borrow directly from private lenders; and 6) Overall, the Grantees and assisted schools were highly positive about the Program and believe that it is making a difference in the market. Five appendixes include a glossary, interviews, census infomration, and 2002-2007. (Contains 15 footnotes and 31 exhibits.) 126p.

Centralizing Charter School Facilities Financing.
(National Resource Center on Charter School Finance and Governance, Washington, DC , 2008)
Highlights how the Utah State Charter School Finance Authority has created more cost-effective and efficient methods to finance charter school facilities. The structure and procedures of the Authority are described, as is the positive impact on Utah charter school and lessons learned in the process. 4p.

Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Awards
(U.S.Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement, Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program, 2008)
Describes the U.S. Department of Education awards made to grantees for charter school facilities from 2001 through 2008.

Making Charter School Facilities More Affordable: State-Driven Policy Approaches. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC , 2008)
Profiles policy interventions from eight states and the District of Columbia that have been developed to help charter schools address various facilities-related challenges. While the guide does not describe every effort, it details how some jurisdictions have dedicated funding streams to support charter facilities and how others have helped charter school operators access relatively low-cost financing to buy, lease, or renovate school buildings. 78p.

Using Municipal Bonds to Finance Charter School Facilities. Adobe PDF
Palmer, Walter
(National Resource Center on Charter School Finance and Governance, Washington, DC , 2008)
Highlights the success of the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School in partnering with Mosaica Education, Inc., The Palmer Foundation, and the City of Philadelphia to use innovative financial management strategies to fund the construction of a new charter school facility. Finding a start-up facility, getting local participation, funding new construction, and lessons learned are described. 5p.

Charter School Facilities Requirements: A Guide for Developers, Brokers and Landlords Adobe PDF
(Low Income Investment Fund, Nov 2007)
Guide to charter school fundamentals, economics and facilities requirements, as well as to the key issues and considerations regarding leases. Since the vast majority of charter schools are housed in leased facilities, this report is geared toward real estate developers, brokers and landlords who may be unfamiliar with charter schools. 16p.

Minnesota Charter School Handbook: Facilities.
(University of Minnesota, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, Center for School Change, Minneapolis , Aug 29, 2007)
Details the Minnesota Charter School Law, charter school facilities financing options in Minnesota, finding charter school space that meets the program's needs, regulatory compliance, examples of Minnesota charter schools, and a list of resources covering charter school development. 17p.

California Charter School Policy Update.
(EdSource, Inc., Mountain View, CA , Jun 2007)
Since the first California charter school opened in 1993, policymakers have continued to add to and adapt state policies. This update focuses on current policy issues that concern charter school facilities, financial issues, and governance. 2p.

Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Schools From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2005-06. Adobe PDF
Hoffman, Lee
(U.S. Dept. of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, DC , Jun 2007)
Presents findings on the numbers and types of public elementary and secondary schools in the United States and other jurisdictions in the 2005-06 school year, using data from the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey of the Common Core of Data (CCD) survey system. The survey reports the numbers and types of schools, including their status (new, continuing, closed, etc.), and whether it is a charter school, magnet school, or Title I school. The survey also reports the numbers of students and the school's "locale type," that is, whether it is in a city, suburb, town, or rural area. 27p.
Report NO: NCES 2007-354

2007 Charter School Facility Finance Landscape. Adobe PDF
Balboni, Elise; Rainer, Eva; Chae, Clara; Olsen, Kathy
(Educational Facilities Financing Center, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, New York, NY , Apr 2007)
This provides a snapshot of the public and nonprofit financing programs for charter school facilities across the nation. The survey includes descriptions of financing products and geographic markets for 25 private nonprofit providers currently active in the sector and two public-private partnerships in Indianapolis and Massachusetts. It also details public initiatives for charter school facilities at both the federal and state levels, including descriptions of two grant programs administered by the U.S. Department of Education and four additional federal programs administered by diverse federal agencies, as well as a listing of all state-level grant, loan and credit enhancement programs in the 41 jurisdictions with a charter law. 48p.

Financing School Facilities in California. Adobe PDF
Brunner, Eric
(Institute for Research on Education Policy & Practice. , Mar 2007)
Reviews California's system of school facility finance. Along with describing that system, it examines the state's investment over time and provides an analysis of the relationship between the revenues available to school districts and various district characteristics. The study explores how the level of school facility funding changed over time and how it compares to the level of funding in other states, how school facility funding is distributed across school districts, the primary causes of inequities in school facility funding across districts, if funding is reaching those districts with the greatest facility needs, how charter schools obtain funding for school facilities, and the special issues related to charter school facility finance. 4p.

California's School Finance System: Charter School Funding.
(California School Finance, 2007)
Locating and paying for facilities has proved challenging for many charter schools in California—especially start-ups. As a result, state and federal lawmakers have taken steps to ease the problem. This describes facilities funding options in California.

Financing the Future: Meeting the Needs of Charter Schools. A Report of the Conference Sponsored by IFF. Adobe PDF
(Illinois Facilities Fund, Chicago, IL , 2007)
Summarizes findings from the first national conference to discuss the real estate financing needs of the charter school movement. Topics covered include: charter school bond financing; uses and benefits of the U.S. Department of Education’s Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Grant; changing state public policy to improve financing options and gain access to capital markets; and achieving a national charter school vision. 12p.

Smaller, Safer, Saner Successful Schools. Adobe PDF
Nathan, Joe; Thao, Sheena
(National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, DC and Center for School Change, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. , 2007)
Provides a summary of research on small schools and shared facilities showing that, on average, smaller schools provide a safer and more challenging school environment that leads to higher academic achievement and graduation rates, fewer disciplinary problems, and greater satisfaction for families, students, and teachers. Also includes 22 case studies of public schools in 11 states, representing urban, suburban, and rural communities; district-run and charter public schools; and co-housing of almost 50 schools and social service agencies. These studies document the ability of smaller schools to improve academic achievement and behavior in safe, nurturing, and stimulating environments. The studies further suggest that sharing facilities with other organizations can enable schools to offer broader learning opportunities for students, provide higher quality services to students and their families, and present a way to efficiently use tax dollars. 68p.

Mixed Use Facilities: Charter Schools’ Innovative Classroom Choices. Adobe PDF
(Low Income Investment Fund, Dec 2006)
Reviews current examples and case studies of charter schools that found that sharing space with other organizations offers a viable facilities solution. 12p.

Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities 2006 Awards
(U.S.Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement, Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program, Jul 2006)
Describes awards from the U.S. Department of Education to the following: Center for Community Self-Help, Durham, N.C.; Charter Schools Development Corporation, Washington, D.C.; Community Loan Fund of New Jersey, Inc.; KIPP Foundation, San Francisco, Cal.; Local Initiatives Support Corporation, New York, N.Y.; and Raza Development Fund, Phoenix, Ariz.

Facilities Funds/Facilities Assistance.
(Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO , 2006)
Summarizes facilities funding and assistance offered by the 40 states that have enacted charter school laws. Each summary includes types of school district property that a charter school may occupy and at what costs, and types and amounts of grants and loans that charter schools may obtain to build or renovate facilities. 4p.

Lending and Learning: Annual Progress Report from the Self-Help Charter School Loan Fund.
(Self Help, Durham, NC , 2006)
Reports on the 2005-2006 work of the Fund in helping to finance charter school facilities. A profile of the Memphis Academy of Health Sciences is included, as is advice for schools with building projects, and an explanation of how lenders can use tax credits to help low- income schools. 4p.

Technical Assistance Worksheets.
(Illinois Facilities Fund, Chicago , 2006)
Provides fourteen worksheets to help organize real estate projects for nonprofit charter schools and early childhood programs. The worksheets guide the user from assessing readiness before the project through occupancy, with advice on determining affordability, choosing capital campaign consultants, borrowing, budgeting, selecting the project's design and construction professionals, occupancy budgeting, and applying for tax exemption. 41p.

Capital Campaign: Early Returns on District of Columbia Charter Schools. Adobe PDF
Mead, Sara
(Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, DC , Oct 2005)
Examines the history, present condition, and unique features of the charter school movement in the District of Columbia. Challenges to the movement are discussed, including the significant challenge of access to and funding for facilities. 40p.

Charter School Funding: Inequity's Next Frontier. Adobe PDF
(Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, Washington, DC , Aug 2005)
Examines charter school funding in 16 states and the District of Columbia, determining that charter schools are significantly underfunded relative to district schools, funding discrepancies are even wider in most big urban school districts, the chief culprit is charter schools' lack of access to local and capital funding, and that quality data is often unavailable. Individual reports for each state are included, policy issues and implications are detailed, and the methodology of the study is described. 141p.

The Charter School Facility Finance Landscape.
Page, Barbara; Balboni, Elise; Chae, Clara; King, Katje
(Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Educational Facilities Financing Center, New York , May 2005)
Provides a national directory of private nonprofit and public providers of funding and financing for charter school facilities. Based on research and interviews with over 50 charter school stakeholders, the survey includes descriptions of financing products and geographic markets for the 21 private nonprofit providers currently active in the sector. The report also describes two public-private partnerships that have recently been developed in Indianapolis and Massachusetts. Public initiatives are also detailed, including explanations of and awardee information for two federal grant programs, three federal tax credit/bond financing programs, and an listing of state-level funding, loan, and credit enhancement programs currently authorized in the 41 jurisdictions with a charter law. The report includes available web site and statutory references, with active links in the electronic version. 24p.

DC Public School and Public Charter School Capital Budgeting.
(21st Century School Fund and Brookings Greater Washington Research Program, Washington, DC , Apr 04, 2005)
Analyzes District of Columbia Public School and Charter Public School capital projects, budgets, and expenditures, presenting the history of facilities planning and budgeting in the District, and the complexities introduced by the advent of Public Charter Schools. The District's educational system features schools in serious disrepair, declining enrollment, underutilized schools, and burgeoning charter schools searching for facilities. Other District public services are in similarly inadequate facilities, and co-location is clearly indicated. Policy challenges for the District, with its complex planning environment and fiscal constraints, are proposed and discussed. 51p.

New Markets Tax Credits: Issues and Opportunities. Adobe PDF
Armistead, P. Jefferson
(Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development, Apr 2005)
This describes the key characteristics of new markets tax credits, key issues in implementation, results so far, and their future potential. Includes a case study of how Excellent Education Development, Inc.(ExEd) used new markets tax credits to create facilities for charter schools in low income Los Angeles County communities. 63p.

Capital Financing For Private & Independent Schools. Adobe PDF
(Wye River Group, Annapolis, MD, Feb 20, 2005)
This paper is a primer for school boards and management. It provides a basic overview of the key issues, considerations and options associated with the use of debt by private schools to address facility financing needs. In addition, for a school which has decided to pursue debt financing, it provides basic guidelines for the choice of debt modality and structure depending on that school's finances, type and amount of financing sought and the financial environment at the time of the planned borrowing. The paper discusses tax-exempt and taxable debt, bank loans, publicly-offered and privately placed bond issues and the use of derivative product (interest rate swaps, caps, etc.) in school financings. 34p.

Debunking the Real Estate Risk of Charter Schools. Adobe PDF
(Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas City, MO , 2005)
Presents research that addresses the wariness that lenders and landlords often have concerning charter schools as clients. One commonly cited survey appears to show that nearly one in ten charter schools has "closed." However, the schools thus counted include many that just changed organizational structure, and continued to occupy and pay on their buildings. Even when buildings are prematurely vacated, 95% are able to be leased or sold on terms no less favorable to the lender or landlord. Charter schools started in conjunction with Education Management Organizations (EMOs) were found to have almost negligible failure rates. Also, charter schools with more students are less risky than average, as are those started one year or more after the home state passes a charter law. Finally, and ironically, the inability to find adequate buildings is itself a key contributor to charter school failures. 10p.

Small Schools Best Practices for Sharing Facilities.
(Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, Chicago, IL , 2005)
Small schools are located in a variety of different environments. The majority of small schools must share a physical building with other schools and must negotiate the use of the shared space. This outlines some tips for creating more successful shared facility situations for small schools, including: ensure autonomy between schools; develop strong working relations between school leadership; communicate a commitment from the higher administration; ensure regular communication between principals; define a conflict resolution process; establish a neutral facilities coordinator; and create a shared facilities memorandum of understanding. 4p.

The Answer Key: How to Plan, Develop and Finance Your Charter School Facility.
(NCB Development Corporation, Washington, DC , 2005)
Provides charter schools with step-by-step assistance in planning, evaluating, and implementing a facilities project. The guide is organized by each stage of the development process, from early project concept and feasibility to final construction closeout and occupancy, and is divided into six sections: concept phase, development phase, facility design and pre-construction, financing the project, construction, and planning and scheduling. 120p.

USCS Start-Up Brief: Facilities.
(U.S. Charter Schools, San Francisco, CA , 2005)
Offers advice on how to secure facilities for a charter school, following an outline of four steps: 1)developing a facilities plan, 2)assessing building/site needs, 3)selecting and evaluating a site, and 4)financing the site. Also provided is a list of site options, examples of how several schools creatively found and financed their facilities, and links to a list of resources on facilities. 4p.

Funding Our Future: Charter School Finance 101.
Harper, Susan
(Low Income Investment Fund, San Francisco, CA , 2005)
Advises potential funding partners on the methods and details of underwriting charter schools, with the intention of encouraging them to participate in the process. The particular funding needs for charter school facilities are described, along with details of the publisher's program to create and support charter schools. 9p.

Lending and Learning: Annual Progress Report from the Self-Help Charter School Loan Fund.
Hunt, Marc
(Self-Help, Durham, NC , 2005)
Reports on the 2003-2004 work of the Fund in helping to finance charter school facilities. Lessons learned by the Fund administrators are detailed, and profiles of two loan recipients are included. 5p.

Magnet and Specialized Schools of the Future: A Focus on Change.
Merritt, Edwin; Beaudin, James; Cassidy, Charles; Myler, Patricia
(Fletcher-Thompson, Inc., Lanham, MD , 2005)
Offers guidance on construction of a new building, addition, or renovation of a magnet or charter school. Twelve exemplary projects are described, followed by guidance on funding, finding a home for the charter school, designing for autistic students, specialized school design, technology, site design and landscape architecture for urban schools, acoustics, indoor air quality, sustainable design, and design-build project delivery. A draft charter school operations plan and 36 references are included. 228p.

Securing Charter School Facilities: Opportunities and Constraints.
Wells, Meriam
(Doctoral Dissertation, University of Southern California, Los Angeles , Jan 2005)
Examines major approaches charter schools use to secure facilities. The focus is on four new start charter schools in California which are aligned with common charter school facility arrangements and distinct categories of funding: self-funded, publicly funded, privately funded, and funded through in-kind donations. Findings revealed that although funds from operating budgets were used as the primary source of facility revenue, every charter school relied on multiple sources to secure and maintain facilities. Whereas self- funding was used by the schools leasing facilities, private donations and loans were also necessary for the schools financing capital expenditures. Schools that relied on the most revenue sources also allocated the greatest amount of their operating budget to facilities. In-kind donations were not a revenue source for these schools. Other facility dimensions, the extent to which state policies were implemented on a local level, and lack of land and affordable buildings affected each school s ability to secure facilities. None of the schools were able to leverage funds from bond proceeds due to strict requirements for borrowing. Consistent with previous research on charter school facilities, the lack of access to adequate facilities was the greatest barrier to entry for these schools. 05/01/2005p.
Report NO: 3180447

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Building a Foundation for Success: How Authorizers Can Help Schools with the Facilities Challenge. Adobe PDF
Halsband, Robin; Hassel, Bryan C.
(National Association of Charter School Authorizers. Issue Brief Number 2. , May 14, 2004)
This brief explores the ways in which authorizers can, indirectly and directly, affect a school’s ability to obtain the financing necessary for a schoolhouse. Part I examines the indirect impact: how the quality of the authorizer, as perceived by a financial institution, can affect loan decisions. Part II considers the direct, proactive roles that some authorizers have taken to help schools meet their facilities financing needs. 12p.

Development Plan for Relocation to the Nichols Avenue School. Submitted by Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School Adobe PDF
(21st Century School Fund, Washington, D.C. , 2004)
A plan for the renovation of and improvements to the Nichols Avenue School building and site in the District of Columbia, for the future home of Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School. This "how-to" manual is designed for individuals interested in modernizing or building new public school facilities in their neighborhoods. Modeled after an innovative public-private development partnership, this tool details the importance of school facilities and community involvement, then explains the five basic steps to planning a new school or renovating an existing building: assessment, envisioning, planning, development and implementation. [Author's abstract] 46p.

Facilities Financing. New Models for Districts That Are Creating Schools Now.
Hassel, Bryan; Esser, Katie Walter
(Education Evolving: A Joint Venture of the Center for Policy Studies and Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota , Feb 2004)
This report outlines innovative ways school districts are meeting their facilities needs outside the traditional sources of facilities financing. Non-traditional funding strategies include private development of public school buildings, partnerships with employer-based schools, direct borrowing on the private market, and sale or lease of existing school facilities. Cost-saving solutions include space-sharing with community agencies or with higher education, and educating outside the school building using community resources or distance learning. New institutional solutions include establishing real estate trusts and intermediaries. Included are specific examples of how districts are implementing these strategies, and a list of additional readings on these topics. 16p.

Competition or Consolidation? The School District Consolidation Debate Revisited.
Murray, Vicki; Groen, Ross
(Goldwater Institute, Phoenix, AZ , Jan 12, 2004)
Advocates competition over consolidation as a means to achieve school efficiency in Arizona, with school choice and expansion of charter school opportunities recommended. The costs and experiences of Arizona and other states with consolidation as well as the impact of consolidation on student achievement are discussed. 46p.
Report NO: 189

Jump-starting the Charter School Movement, A Guide for Donors.
(Public Impact for the Philanthropy Roundtable, Chapel Hill, NC, Jan 2004)
This monograph describes how funders can best support the charter school movement. Chapters include: 1) A Movement Comes to a Crossroads After a Decade of Growth; 2) Four Strategic Priorities; 3) Building a Robust Supply of High-quality New Schools; 4) Addressing Critical Operational Challenges; 5) Improving Charter School Quality Controls; 6) Forging Charter-Friendly Public Policies; 7) Making Grants and Investments Count; 8) The Next Phase of Philanthropic Support. [You must be registered with the LISC Online Resource Library in order to download the free document.] 75p.

The Finance Gap: Charter Schools and Their Facilities. Adobe PDF
(Institute for Education and Social Policy, Steinhardt School of Education, New York University; The Educational Facilities Financing Center of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation , Jan 2004)
This study examines the facilities experiences of charter schools in fourteen states and the District of Columbia, jurisdictions that house 75 percent of the nations charter schools. The findings substantiate and detail the belief that facilities are the number one hurdle for charter school developers. Researchers conducted over 100 interviews with representatives of public schools, including charter schools and charter school networks; federal, state and local public education officials; representatives of public school advocacy groups, partners, and resource centers; and representatives of the real estate and finance communities. This report documents the shared experiences of charter schools with innovative financing mechanisms, private sector involvement in facilities financing, and the use of instructional revenue for the repayment of debt. It also offers recommendations for public and private sector participants. [Authors' abstract.] 68p.

Charter School Facilities: A Resource Guide for Planning School Space and Understanding Building Codes. Adobe PDF
Weeks, William; Hollins, Susan
Jan 2004)
Assists with space and facility planning for charter schools, with particular attention to New Hampshire's charter school laws. The document outlines the work of the facility committee or team, offers succinct space planning considerations for the various instructional and non- instructional spaces, and advises on air and water quality, asbestos, fire safety, hazardous materials, security, playgrounds, and transportation. Additional space cost considerations for new construction or existing spaces, as well as re-use of civic, organization, commercial, retail, or industrial spaces are also included. 106p.

Concept Plan for Relocation to the Nichols Avenue School. Adobe PDF
(The 21st Century School Fund, Washington, DC , Dec 29, 2003)
Presents a conceptual plan for locating a law-related charter high school to a small, historic neighborhood school building. The deficiencies described include lack of administrative, physical education, cafeteria, and assembly spaces, and sufficient classroom space. Site plans illustrate the design remedies and are accompanied by cost estimates. 59p.

Charter Schools: New Charter Schools across the Country and in the District of Columbia Face Similar Start-Up Challenges. Report to Congressional Requesters. Adobe PDF
(General Accounting Office, Washington, D.C. , Sep 2003)
This study analyzed federal and state charter school laws, addressing challenges faced by charter school startups nationwide, state resources available to address these challenges, and how the District of Columbia compares in terms of charter school challenges and resources. The three greatest challenges facing new charter schools were securing a facility, obtaining startup funding, and acquiring the expertise necessary to run a charter school. Challenges facing District schools are similar to those nationwide, although obtaining facilities is particularly difficult in the District due to the cost of real estate and poor conditions of available buildings. To offset this, the District provides charter schools with various forms of assistance. 39p.
Report NO: GAO-03-899

Charter School Finance
(Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO, Apr 2003)
This examines charter school finance policies across the 50 states, and answers the question: Does the state provide facilities funds or other facilities assistance to charter schools? This also provides information on the source of funding for charter schools, how the per-pupil funding level is determined, whether or not the state provides start-up and/or planning grants, and which states must provide transportation to charter school students. 11p.

Schools Sharing Buildings: A Toolkit. Principles and Practices from the Chicago Public Schools. Adobe PDF
(Chicago Public Schools, IL , 2003)
Much like office buildings that house several companies, a school building can house several autonomous schools, each with their own administration, faculty and budgets. This toolkit describes examples of schools sharing buildings in Chicago, and gives practical advice for how to do this successfully. Recommendations include: establish a commitment to shared equitable space; build and maintain stong working relationships; support school identity and autonomy with visual cues; plan for the future with a memorandum of understanding; develop a conflict resolution process; capitalize on the benefits of building sharing. 23p.

Technical Assistance for Setting Up a Charter School: School Facilities. Adobe PDF
(New York Charter School Resource Center, Albany, NY, 2003)
Guidelines on charter school construction costs, site options, and building code requirements and regulations. Besides constructing a new facility, this describes creative options for housing a charter school, such as leasing unused space from the public school district, using state owned facilities, using corporate partnerships, or sharing community facilities. This is a chapter from the 2003 Resource Guide, a comprehensive downloadable .pdf outlining the procedures for starting a charter school in New York State. p237-242

Illinois Charter School Developer’s Handbook. Chapter 13: Facilities and Operations. Adobe PDF
Jack, C. Allison; Lin, Margaret
(Leadership for Quality Education, Chicago, IL, 2003)
Chapter 13 of this handbook describes various facilities financing options including internal funding from operating funds, capital campaigns, traditional bank loans, loan guarantees from other entities, modular buildings, multi-use facility, or occupancy in existing school building. An accompanying chart lists the pros and cons of these options. p113-123

Claiming Space for Small Schools. A Report on the New Century Schools: The Bronx, New York 2002-2003. Adobe PDF
Kurgan, Laura
(Office of the Superintendent of Bronx High Schools; School of Architecture at Princeton University. , 2003)
A team from Princeton University's School of Architects followed a group of innovative educators in the Bronx High Schools as they rethought the architecture of small schools. Seeking to imagine the creation of educational spaces where students and teachers can truly learn through collaboration and challenge the traditional ways of thinking about size and scale, this report responds to the diversity of the Bronx, and offers ideas as to how to reclaim space administrative and obsolete spaces for use as classrooms. This toolkit's proposed strategy for the successful incubation and growth of new small schools begins with architecture, but also suggests the formation of design teams to take non-architectural interventions such as graphic design, furniture organization and educational planning just as seriously. 80p.

Building a Charter School Building: Creative Financing Options. Adobe PDF
Lang, Mary
(The National Resource Center on Charter School Finance and Governance, Washington, DC , 2003)
Details the experience of the Moscow Charter School (Idaho) in obtaining a facility, from its beginnings in a church basement to the creation of its own new facility. The narrative is offered as a means for other charter schools to learn from this school's successes and failures. A list of variables that affect the financing of charter school facilities is included. 34p.

ABC's of School Funding. [Qualified Public Education Facility Bonds] Adobe PDF
Skinder, Karen
(U.S.Internal Revenue Service, Washington, DC , 2003)
Qualified Public Education Facility Bonds (QPEFs) are a potential funding mechanism for both charters and public schools. QPEFs are a type of exempt facility bond created under section 422 of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. QPEFs allows state or federal agencies to enter into a public-private partnership with a for-profit organization, under which the for-profit agrees to construct, rehabilitate, refurbish or equip a public school facility. The bond proceeds are loaned to a private, for-profit corporation (developer) who owns the school facility and leases it to a public school. At the end of the lease term, ownership of the school facility is transferred to the public school for no additional consideration. This information packet includes; 1) IRS technical information on QPEFs; 2) a reprint of the Heritage Foundation report "How Public-Private Partnerships Can Facilitate Public School Construction" by Ronald Utt, and 3) IRS Form 8038, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bond Issues. 30p.

The Generation Gap: A Decade of Charter Growth Continues.
(Fitch Ratings, New York, NY, Nov 2002)
In its semi-annual report on the charter school debt sector, Fitch notes the increasing demand for alternative educational choices, including charter schools, home and private schooling, and the resulting suffering in public school district enrollment and revenue from this educational competition. However, newer charter schools attempting to get their bonds rated will still most likely receive below investment-grade ratings.
TO ORDER: Fitch Ratings Ltd. One State Street Plaza, New York, New York 10004.

Doing Business with Entrepreneurial America: Protecting School District Interests.
McCord, Robert S.; Mattocks, T. C.; Kops, Gerald
(In: Balancing Rights: Education Law in a Brave New World. Papers [of the] Education Law Association (ELA) 48th Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA, Nov 2002)
This paper attempts to identify benchmark considerations when entertaining the question of private management of public school facilities. Management possibilities include contracting for services and charter conversion. The paper also highlights elements of contract law pertinent to formal agreements made between school districts and private providers. In the early stages of doing business with private providers, care must be taken to control the spin of public opinion. Building support for reform efforts is an incremental process requiring a constant flow of factual information, anecdotal evidence, and independent research findings. Emphasis must be placed on beginning contract negotiations early in the process to ensure that all provisions are artfully crafted and meet with broad acceptance--particularly important when negotiating how those provisions affect existing labor agreements. The paper includes a suggested list of contract contents, starting with recitals/preamble; definitions; establishment or determination of school sites; term of agreement and starting date; mission statement; goals, objectives, and pupil performance standards; and financial arrangements, among other provisions. This list provides a starting point for drafting the contract between school authorities and a school management vendor.

Building a Third Way on School Construction. Getting Past a Broken-Down Debate to Fix Broken-Down Schools.
Mead, Sara
(Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. , Nov 2002)
This policy report reviews the history of the six-year debate over the federal role in school construction that continues to be centered on the details for various tax credit proposals, including whether or not Davis-Bacon wage requirements would apply to these projects. This also discusses the difficulties charter schools have accessing facilities financing due to their brief operating histories, length of charters, and a high risk factor. This report makes two suggestions: 1) break the link between charter facilities aid and school construction and fund the so called Carper-Gregg initiatives, which authorize federal funds to serve as credit enhancement and to match state charter school facilities funding; and 2) establish State or Regional Infrastructure Banks as a broad federal approach to school construction. 6p.

The Future of School Facilities: Getting Ahead of the Curve.
DeArmond, Michael; Taggart, Sara; Hill, Paul
(Center on Reinventing Public Education, University of Washington, Seattle , May 2002)
This paper asserts that instead of assuming that the future of learning has to take place in buildings we happen to have now, districts can let innovations in instruction and learning drive how they provide, design, and use school buildings. With this goal in mind, this paper looks at five trends in education and what they imply about the kinds of buildings and spaces districts will need for tomorrow’s schools. The five trends are: (1) pressure on schools to perform for all students, not just those who learn best in traditional settings; (2) demands for the personalization of learning, so that every child has a chance to learn and families have choices; (3) new technologies that will change how teachers teach and students learn; (4) periodic shortages of teachers (and school leaders) linked to swings in the economy; and (5) shifts in student population and residency patterns that will affect not only the demand for schools, but also the demands on schools. Suggested strategies include developing smaller schools, sharing buildings between multiple schools, adapting facilities for both commercial and educational uses, and partnerships with companies and organizations outside the education sector. The paper also includes an extensive case study on the high school built by the public-private partnership of the Niagara Falls City School District and Honeywell, Inc. The case study includes specifics on the financing deal, the flow of funds, tax strategies, and risk management. 29p.

The Role of Partnering Organizations in New York City Charter Schools.
Troy, Tammi
(Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, Apr 2002)
In December 1998, New York State passed charter legislation allowing 100 new charter schools and an unlimited number of public schools to convert to charter status. The charter law has provided "discount funding," prohibited charter schools from using public-sources funds for facility purchase or improvement, and added managerial responsibilities on the principals. Consequently, charter schools in New York City had to seek out sources of support in the form of institutional partners and/or friend organizations. This study was conducted to examine and track such relationships between 14 New York City charter schools having various types of relationships with partnering organizations. Open-ended interviews were conducted with school administrators, teachers, and representatives of participating organizations. Results show that partnering organizations are smaller systems, are more responsive, and provide greater efficiency in a more personal manner compared with support structures for traditional public schools. However, intervention of institutional partners challenged charter schools' administrators' authority and affected school governance. Implications are that if funding for charter schools does not increase, then reliance on partnering organizations will also increase. It would be prudent for educators and policymakers to consider how the implementation of charter law can affect school-level decision-making and charter schools' autonomy. 15p.
TO ORDER: Institute for Education and Social Policy, New York University, 726 Broadway, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10003. Tel: 212-998-5880.

The Paradox of Support: Charter Schools and Their Institutional Partners. Adobe PDF
Jacobowitz, Robin
(Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA. Research sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.; Rockefeller Foundation, New York, NY. , Apr 2002)
Nonprofit organizations, private foundations, and for-profit corporations interested in shaping public education regularly partner with charter schools in New York. State law allows charter schools to pursue external partners to help meet their fiscal, facilities, operational, and instructional needs. This qualitative study of 10 schools in New York City examines how the relationship between charter school and external partner affects school autonomy and the school's relationships with teachers, parents, and community members. Data were collected through interviews with school staff and representatives of partner organizations, and through observations of meetings, daily school operations, and school-related events. The samples studied suggest that the fiscal and operational burdens of running a charter school necessitate affiliation with an institutional partner. However, partnering brings its own set of problems, particularly unclear authority and accountability. The study reveals that a school's decision-making authority is limited, and its relationships with teachers, parents, and community members can become complicated when issues of authority and accountability are not absolutely clear. The study concludes that when institutional partners do not involve teachers, parents, and community members in creating a vision for the school, the potential for tension among the various stakeholders remains high.

Growing Pains: Charter Schools Begin Their Second Decade
(Fitch Ratings, New York, NY, 2002)
Fitch Ratings published this Special Report, which reaffirms its belief that schools without three to ten years of successful operating history or substantial credit enhancing features will find earning an investment-grade rating very difficult. However, they also believe that schools do exist that have attractive stories and promising potential, despite some degree of risk. Within the charter school sector, Fitch sees the trends of 1) heightened scrutiny, 2) funding challenges and competition with school districts, 3) unions and unionization, 4) continued capital funding challenges, and 5) a challenging environment for some for-profit managers, coupled with the current Supreme Court case regarding school vouchers, all contributing to a volatile environment for charter schools.
TO ORDER: Fitch, Inc., One State Street Plaza, New York, New York 10004. Tel: 212-909-0800.

Dollars and Sense: the Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools. Adobe PDF
Bingler, Steven; Diamond, Barbara M.; Hill, Bobbie; Hoffman, Jerry L.; Howley, Craig B.; Lawrence, Barbara Kent; Mitchell, Stacy; Rudolph, David; Wash
(KnowledgeWorks Foundation, Cincinatti, OH; The Rural School and Community Trust, Washington, DC; Concordia, LLC, New Orleans, LA , 2002)
This publication summarizes research on the educational and social benefits of small schools and the negative effects of large schools on students, teachers, and members of the community, as well as the "diseconomies of scale" inherent in large schools. It asserts that research shows that measuring the cost of education by graduates rather than by all students who go through the system suggests that small schools are a wise investment. Using data drawn from 489 schools submitted to design competitions in 1990-2001, the publication concludes that small schools can be built cost effectively and that many districts are doing so. 31p.

Lowering the Overhead by Raising the Roof: and Other Rural Trust Strategies to Reduce the Costs of your Small School.
Lawrence, Barbara Kent
(The Rural School and Community Trust, Washington, DC. , 2002)
This publication helps communities reduce the costs of maintaining, building, and renovating good, small schools. It includes specific strategies that rural communities have used to reduce the costs of their small schools. It begins by suggesting factors to consider before starting to plan a school facilities project, such as understanding the resistance to small schools that many administrators and legislators may have, and also understanding the importance of examining and questioning state policies. It continues by providing a total of 13 strategies for reducing costs including the importance of good maintenance and siting and using renovation instead of resorting to new construction. The book ends with an extensive list of resources for further information on the strategies.
TO ORDER: The Rural School and Community Trust, 1825 K Street, NW, Suite 703, Washington, DC, 20006. Tel: 202-955-7177.

How Community-Based Organizations Can Start Charter Schools. Adobe PDF
Martinelli, Frank
(Annie E. Casey Foundation; Charter Friends National Network; Center for Public Skills Training. , Sep 2001)
This technical assistance guide for charter school leaders discusses the ways in which charter schools can benefit from collaboration with an established community-based organization. Several facilities-related benefits include: 1) saving money by sharing staff and facilities; 2) tapping the facilities expertise of community-based organization; and 3) obtaining capital more easily due to the community-based organization's established banking relationships.

School Construction. Policy Report.
Mead, Sara
(Progressive Policy Institute, 21st Century Schools Project, Washington, DC , Jun 2001)
This paper discusses the policy and political issues surrounding school construction, and it illustrates how infrastructure banks would work to address this challenge. The paper explores the problems of overcrowding and crumbling schools, details the struggle many communities and States have in expanding their efforts to solve these problems, and reviews the policy and political issues within the current school construction debate. The author argues for the establishment of State or regional school construction infrastructure banks to help capitalize and leverage State and local resources and ensure customization and flexibility for the variety of schools that exist. The paper also explains how school infrastructure banks are the most efficient vehicle that the federal government can use to empower States and communities to address their new facilities issues. The report includes 14 endnotes. 12p.

Charter Schools and the Education of Children with Disabilities. Adobe PDF
Giovannetti, Elizabeth; Ahearn, Eileen; Lange, Cheryl
(Charter Friends National Network , May 2001)
This resource guide provides an overview of special-education laws and issues related to K-12 education for those interested in starting or currently operating a charter school, for host or sponsoring school districts, and for state departments of education. 39p.

Charter School Facilities: Report from a National Survey of Charter Schools. Adobe PDF
Hassel, Bryan; Page, Barbara
(Public Impact for Charter Friends National Network, St. Paul, MN; Ksixteen, New York, NY , Apr 2001)
This report presents survey findings about the U.S. charter school system that were collected from 280 schools in 19 states with over 80,000 students. The two-part report examines the responses to a short list of questions about facility costs and growth plans, and it explores information provided by a subset of schools - 118 institutions - that completed longer survey instruments covering a wider range of questions about schools' facilities experiences and challenges. Among the findings are that the majority of charter schools in the survey lease their facilities, that fewer than one in seven charter schools receive "free" facilities, and that the average cost for facilities is $191,553 or $690 per student. The study also found that charter school challenges may become more acute in coming years due to planned growth, that nearly six out of 10 responders indicated plans to expand their facilities, and that the average plan is for an increase in enrollment of 63 percent or higher. The report further details the types of facilities used by charter schools; facility ownership, size, and space sharing; experience of obtaining financing; and the limitations and challenges arising from facilities issues. An appendix contains information on how the data for the report was collected. 17p.
TO ORDER: Charter Friends National Network, 1295 Bandana Blvd., Suite 165, St. Paul, MN 55108; Tel: 651-644-6115;

Charter School Revolving Loan Fund. [California]
(California Department of Education, Sacramento, CA, Mar 23, 2001)
Recent California legislation (Senate Bill 1759, Chapter 586, Statutes of 2000) makes significant changes to the Charter School Revolving Loan Fund (Education Code sections 41365 through 41367). This provides general information and instructions to charter schools and charter authorizing entities about applying for a revolving loan.

Facilities and Start-Up Costs [Charter Schools].
(U.S.Department of Education, Washington, DC, 2001)
Part of a larger section on budget, finance, and fundraising issues for charter schools. Provides some examples of financing arrangements and lists special funds to help charter schools with facilities. Links to additional information on state funding.

Innovative School Facility Partnerships: Downtown, Airport, and Retail Space. Policy Study No. 276.
Taylor, Matthew D.; Snell, Lisa
(Reason Public Policy Institute, Los Angeles, CA , Dec 2000)
This document examines three locations that schools have utilized in partnership with private enterprises to help ease school overcrowding: downtown areas, airports, and malls. The downtown model serves students whose parents work in a downtown area. The mall model targets high school students who want an alternative education with job training. The airport model provides a school with space on airport grounds so that students of airport employees can attend school. These initiatives help local school districts save funds that would otherwise be used to construct facilities, freeing up resources for other district needs. Students benefit from smaller class sizes and unique educational opportunities afforded to them by the school location and interaction with local businesses. Students and parents also benefit from the creative scheduling that the schools offer by working around the parents' schedules. 19p.

Charter Schools: Limited Access to Facility Financing. Adobe PDF
(General Accounting Office, Washington, DC , Sep 2000)
This report determines the degree to which charter schools have access to traditional public school facility financing, and whether alternative sources of facility financing are available to charter schools. Further discussed are potential options generally available to the federal government if it were to assume a larger role in charter school facility financing. It reports that charter schools generally do not have access to municipal bonds, the most common source of facility financing, and that charter schools that are part of local school districts might not share in local or state school construction funds. State charter school laws vary, and few of them address facility financing or provide funding for school construction or improvements, purchasing, or leasing buildings for use by charter schools. Sources of charter school financing include allocation of education funds from state, loans, and private donations; however, such funding may not adequately cover costs or are not widely available to charter schools. The federal government can broaden its role in financing charter school facilities through grants, direct loans, loan guarantees, loan pools, tax-exempt bonds, and tax credits. Appendices provide a comparison of state legislation on charter school independence, a summary of state legislation on how charter schools obtain facilities, and comments from the Department of Education. 28p.
Report NO: GAO/HEHS-00-163

Solving the Charter School Financing Conundrum.
DeSchryver, Dave
(Center for Education Reform Action Paper, Washington, DC, Aug 2000)
Charter schools often have difficulty obtaining capital financing and the funds needed to cover initial operating expenses and other start-up costs. This one of the most challenging obstacles that charter schools face, but state legislators can make it easier. They can advance education reform by implementing favorable charter school financing policies. Here are some policies lawmakers should consider implementing in their states to alleviate financing burdens on charter schools.

Accessing Federal Programs: A Guidebook for Charter School Operators and Developers. Adobe PDF
(U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Washington, DC, Jun 2000)
This guidebook provides basic information to assist charter schools in accessing the federal programs and resources available to them through the U. S. Department of Education. The programs selected are those that are commonly considered the most beneficial to charter schools. 70p.

School Finance Primer: A Taxpayer's Guide to Pubic School Finance. [Arizona]
Hunter, Michael; Gifford, Mary
(Goldwater Institute Center for Market-Based Education, Phoenix, AZ , Feb 2000)
This guide introduces and updates information on the Arizona public school finance system. It is intended to promulgate a wider understanding of public school finance. It includes tables and figures listing revenue support trends and regulations. Topics cover school district financing prior to 1980, the "bucket-of-need" analysis of Arizona's equalized system for facility maintenance and operation, state aid, K-12 finance reform and Arizona s "equalized" system, and expenditures outside the budget limits. The guide also addresses the truth about taxation, offers recommendations on expenditures outside the school district budget limits, discusses funding issues for school construction and renovation, and explains charter school financing and revenue generation. 34p.
TO ORDER: Goldwater Institute, 500 East Coronado Road, Phoenix, AZ 85004; Tel: 602-462-5000

Charter Friends Initiative on Facilities Financing
(Charter Friends National Network, St. Paul, MN, 2000)
Discusses the background and origins of the initative, lessons learned, major products, partnerships, and future initiatives.

Colorado Charter Schools Capital Finance Study. Challenges and Opportunities for the Future.
(Colorado Department of Education, Denver , 2000)
This report discusses strategies that will help charter schools finance their facilities needs. It outlines the history of the Colorado Charter Schools Act, focusing on the contracting process, on dispute resolution and appeals, on renewal, on employee options, and on revenue allocation. The document also examines issues surrounding school operations under the Charter Schools Act. It looks at financing guidelines, types of facilities in use by Colorado charter schools, the quality of charter-school facilities, how schools acquired their facilities, and tax-exempt bond financing. Some of the roadblocks to successful charter-school capital finance involve revenue streams, limited access to tax-exempt financing, uncertainty regarding public school status, perceptions of risk, and a scarcity of resources. The document provides a general overview of the finance mechanisms used by public schools to obtain capital for their facilities needs, as well as the potential availability of these mechanisms for charter school use, such as conduit financing, loan pools, and credit enhancement. The report closes by making 15 policy recommendations that policymakers should consider as they deal with charter schools' facilities concerns. 65p.

Venturesome Capital: State Charter School Finance Systems. Chapter 7. Facilities and Capital Outlay Financing. Adobe PDF
Nelson, F. Howard; Muir, Edward; Drown, Rachel
(Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC., 2000)
This report examines the laws, regulations, and practices governing charter-school finance during the 1998-99 school year. This chapter discusses facilities funding issues. p69-78

Charter School Facilities. A Resource Guide on Development and Financing. Adobe PDF
Jakubowski, Lara
(NCB Development Corporation, Washington, DC; Charter Friends National Network, St. Paul, MN , 2000)
This manual provides information to help charter schools navigate the facility development process, including worksheets that can be customized to suit a particular school's needs. Sections cover how facility planning fits into business planning for charter schools, review a process for assessing a school's facility needs, and summarize how to select a site and compare those found. Additionally, the manual includes an overview of construction and budgeting issues for a facility project, reviews sources of financing a project, provides a project timeline, and offers a glossary of terms to clarify technical issues in the facility development process. Appendices contain model forms for developing operating and capital budgets, balance sheets, cash flow projections, and a sample application for a National Cooperative Bank (NCB) Development Corporation charter school loan. 66p.

Financing Charter School Facilities in Pennsylvania. Adobe PDF
Anderson, Amy; Hassel, Bryan
(Charter Friends National Network, St. Paul, MN , Dec 20, 1999)
Discusses challenges that arise when funding charter school facilities, with particular attention to how Pennsylvania has addressed lack of revenue for facilities, restricted access to tax-exempt financing, prohibition on the use of operating revenue for construction, lender uncertainty about charter renewal, and minimal access to high-risk capital. 12p.

How to House and Pay for the Local Charter School.
Holland, Robert
(Lexington Institute, Arlington, VA, Nov 08, 1999)
Charter-school leaders are finding many ways to solve the housing problem. This paper examines practices that may offer guidance to those starting new schools. For example, charter schools have found homes in museums, YMCAs, restored schoolhouses, and even in a moviehouse, and some have formed productive partnerships with businesses. Given a per-pupil allotment for facilities, some schools have found they can lease or fix up space on a pay-as-you-go basis. Others have had to finance at least part of the costs, but there are a variety of options for doing so.

Underwriting Loans to Charter Schools.
Jacob, Renee
(National Community Capital Association, Philadelphia, PA, Sep 1999)
This technical assistance memo examines the three most significant risks for charter school lenders: Operations, Real Estate/Project Planning, and Political. The memo explores the causes of each risk and offers advice on how best to mitigate it. Examples of how community development financial institutions (CDFI’s) around the country have alleviated these risks, as well as links to other resources, are provided. [You must be registered with the LISC Online Resource Library in order to download the free document.] 16p.

Out of the Box: Facilities Financing Ideas for Charter Schools. Adobe PDF
Hassel, Bryan
(Charter Friends National Network, St. Paul, MN , Jul 1999)
This guidebook provides charter schools with ideas when seeking financing, and touches on the issues they often face regarding appropriate site, managing the construction and renovation process, and facility operation that is safe and economical. Ideas presented are based on experiences of real charter schools. The document is organized around four major means by which charter schools can meet the facility's financing challenge. The first section addresses financing preparation and provides tools that can help facilities in crafting business, accountability, and facility-development plans. The second section addresses creative ways to accumulate the amount charter schools need to finance. The third section explains how aggressive shopping, exploring low-cost forms of financing, looking for ways to make their deals less risky, and pursuing other strategies can help these schools reduce the interest rates they pay for financing. The fourth section explains how charter schools can improve public policies regarding these facilities, obtain per-pupil revenue for charter schools, and bring about other helpful changes. 40 p.

Satellite Charter Schools: Addressing the School-Facilities Crunch Through Public-Private Partnerships.
Seder, Richard C.
(Reason Public Policy Institute, Policy Study No. 256 , Apr 1999)
The charter school movement is perhaps the fastest-growing reform movement in education. But with this speed comes increasing pressure for facilities. Traditional public schools, facing enrollment growth, deteriorating facilities, and efforts to reduce class sizes, are utilizing an innovative option to address their own demands for facilities. Over thirty satellite, or work-site, schools operate in partnership with local school districts. This partnership between the private sector and school organizers presents a viable option for charter school leaders, business partners, and children.

Paying for the Charter Schoolhouse: Policy Options for Charter School Facilities Financing Adobe PDF
Hassel, Bryan
(Charter Friends National Network, St. Paul, MN , 1999)
This report outlines five options state policymakers can pursue to enable charter schools to gain access to suitable, high-quality facilities: 1)creating new revenue streams for facilities cost; 2)giving charter schools access to low-cost financing; 3)creating or stimulating finance pools for charter schools; 4)providing incentives for organizations to supply facilities; and 5)considering other ways to improve the facilities climate. Examples of existing efforts are provided for each of these options. The report also highlights some actions groups other than state policymakers, i.e., Congress, local officials, and charter friends groups that can help ease the charter facilities challenges. Appendices provide a breakdown of how some states handle per-pupil facilities funding for charter schools as well as a list of resources on charter school facilities financing. 23p.

What it Takes: Starting a Charter School.
(U.S. Charter Schools, San Francisco, CA , 1999)
Presents a case study of Leadership High School that describes key strategies and challenges in starting and running a charter school. The third installment in the study describes a mutually beneficial arrangement whereby the school obtained daytime use of a local higher education institution's night school spaces. 21p.

Charter Starters Leadership Training Workbook I: Start-Up Logistics. Adobe PDF
Ley, Joyce
(Northwest Regional Educational Lab., Portland, OR. , 1999)
This workbook is the first in a series devoted to all areas of charter-school development. It addresses the logistics of starting a school, such as drafting a charter, creating a vision and mission, accessing expert information, navigating the application process, acquiring a facility, and establishing a legal entity. Facilities and financing are discussed in chapter five along with the development of a needs assessment and how to identify possible sites.
TO ORDER: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 101 SW Main, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204. Tel: 800-547-6339

Charter School Facilities Financing: Some News from the Front
Hassel, Bryan
(Report presented to a workshop at the 1998 EDVentures Conference sponsored by the Association of Educators in Private Practice, at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, Jul 30, 1998)
Preliminary report on research conducted by Bryan Hassel, a North Carolina-based education and policy consultant, on charter school facilities financing.

Charter School Facility Financing: Constraints and Options. Adobe PDF
Dolan, John V.; Murray, Douglas P.; Walsh, Gregory J.
(Massachusetts Charter School Resource Center, Boston, MA , 1998)
This paper examines a facility planning model according to which charter schools can maximize their chances of succeeding in the effort to secure permanent facilities. The model includes a facility feasibility element that sets the scale and quality that project charter schools can and should realistically aim to accomplish; an occupancy cost element that determines the level of total facility cost charter schools can and should bear; and a credit standard element that determines key financing and operating criteria that charter schools must be able and willing to meet to acquire permanent facilities either through leases or mortgages. The paper also includes a summary of leading facility financing arrangements currently in use by charter schools, and presents recommendations for enhancing charter school facility financing alternatives to benefit more charter schools and to advise prospective facility financing providers. 25p.

Charter Schools: Recent Experiences in Accessing Federal Funds. Statement of Cornelia M. Blanchette, Associate Director, Education and Employment Issues. Adobe PDF
( Testimony before the Committee on Labor and Human Resources, U.S. Senate , 1998)
This report presents a study of charter schools' use of startup grants and grants under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). For this research, case studies were conducted in 7 states that accounted for 91 percent of charter schools operating in the 1996-97 school year. The results indicate that these schools used federal startup funds for a variety of purposes, including school equipment and curriculum materials, technology, and facilities renovation or leasing. The findings suggest that charter schools have not been systematically denied access to Title I and IDEA funds and that the barriers charter schools face in accessing these funds appear to have no relation to charter schools' treatment as school districts or as members of school districts. Rather, it is barriers such as state systems that base funding allocations on the prior year's enrollment that have affected charter schools' access to these funds. However, most charter-school operators still believed that Title I and IDEA funds are fairly allocated to charter schools. 19p.

Charter Schools: Federal Funding Available but Barriers Exist. Report to Congressional Requesters. Adobe PDF
(General Accounting Office, Washington, DC , 1998)
This report examines how selected states allocate Elementary and Secondary Education Act Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds to charter and other public schools and identifies factors helping and hindering charter schools' access to funds in various states. Researchers found that states allocate funds for charter schools either directly or indirectly via a parent school district. About two-fifths of the charter schools surveyed received Title I funds; slightly over half received IDEA funds or IDEA-funded special education services. Most charter schools did not receive funds or did not apply for them. Access barriers included lack of enrollment and student eligibility data to submit to states and the application time and costs considerations. Several states and the Department of Education have begun initiatives, such as alternative allocation policies, to help charter schools access federal funds. 52p
Report NO: GAO/HEHS-98-84

Charter Schools-in-the-Workplace
(Florida State Legislature, 1998)
Text of Florida's Charter School Legislation relating to schools in the workplace. (Section 228.056, Florida Statutes, as amended through the 1998 Session). In order to increase business partnerships in education, to reduce school and classroom overcrowding throughout the state, and to offset the high costs for educational facilities construction, the Florida Legislature encourages the formation of business partnership schools or satellite learning centers through charter school status.

Child-Centered School Funding. Adobe PDF
Block, Michael K.; Flake, Jeffry L.; Gifford, Mary; Solmon, Lewis
(Goldwater Institute, Phoenix, AZ , Jan 1998)
This report argues, using Arizona as an illustration, for a market-based school funding paradigm characterized by per-pupil allocations that follow each student to the school of their choice. The report explains what is wrong with the current system, compares the market-based approach to others that have been proposed, and demonstrates how per-pupil funding works in the real world. It argues that the absence of a link between school facilities and educational quality has led to undisciplined costs that will ultimately lead to unsustainable debt. The debate over standards should focus on dollars, not facilities, with the role of the state being as fund provider and letting public school officials to make decisions about facilities. It suggests that the best way to establish the per-pupil dollar standard is to determine how much funding it takes to entice private providers of public education to enter the market. It argues that this dollar amount would allow the vast majority of existing school districts to build new facilities and renovate old ones on a pay-as-you-go basis. Finally, it suggests that public schools should be allowed to seek funding beyond the state provided amount on a voluntary basis. 28p.

Scale & Care: Charter Schools & New Urbanism. Adobe PDF
Garber, Michael P.; Anderson, R. John; DiGiovanni, Thomas G.
(Congress for the New Urbanism , 1998)
The Charter School movement combined with New Urbanist designers have uncovered the importance of scale in creating school environments that are more responsive to the needs of children. This paper examines the possibilities for mutual benefit for school and community by integrating school-building into the new urbanist tool kit. The discussion covers actual implementation: a prototype building, a means for integration into the community structure, and a financial analysis geared toward developers. Also explored are the benefits of small schools, charter school laws, and the synergism realized from the cooperation of charter school operators and new urbanist developers. Concluding sections contain footnotes, an annotated bibliography, and Web site listings for additional information. 25p.

How Level a Playing Field?: The Search For Equity In Charter School Funding
Mandala, Cheryl
(University of Minnesota, Center for School Change at the Hubert H.Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, Minneapolis, 1998)
Presents findings of an analysis of funding disparities existing between charter public schools and traditional public schools in Minnesota. School district revenue data from the 1995-96 school year were analyzed for fourteen public schools and the traditional public schools in the districts in which the charters were located.

Facilities Requirements for Charter Schools in Florida.
(Florida Department of Education, Educational Facilities, Tallahasee, 1997)
States facilities requirements in legislative language. Provides guidelines to meet the legislative direction, presented in a question-and-answer format. 5p.

The Downtown School Community Report. Connecting Learning With Life. Adobe PDF
Lacey, Kelly; Drees, Jan
(Des Moines Business Education Alliance, IA , 1996)
In August 1993 the Des Moines (Iowa) community created a new type of neighborhood school by placing an elementary school close to where the parents work, rather than where they live. This school, the Downtown School, serves a diverse community of students, emphasizes parental involvement, and implements current research in education. This report reviews its first 2 years of operation. Founding principles for the Downtown School were that it would require parent involvement and communication and that it would have small classes, with an integrated curriculum in multiage classes featuring experience-based active learning. A look at the program after 2 years shows that the school has been welcomed by the community and has created effective partnerships with the business community. Its self-evaluation efforts have targeted areas for improvement. Although the Downtown School has been open for only a brief time, student achievement measured by standardized tests has been above national and district averages. 109p.

Satellite Schools: The Private Provision of School Infrastructure Adobe PDF
Beales, Janet R.
(Reason Foundation, Santa Monica, CA, , Jan 1993)
The private-sector provision of school infrastructure in the form of satellite schools is discussed in this paper. Following the introduction, section 2 presents a case study of Satellite Learning Centers in Dade County, Florida, in which the schools operate as public schools on business worksites. The host-business, American Bankers Insurance Group (ABIG) contributes land, building space, and some operating expenses; the school district supplies the rest--teachers, supplies, curriculum, and administration. Benefits include the savings of millions of dollars in public school infrastructure and transportation costs, increased student performance and attendance, improved student/parent/teacher interaction, decreased absenteeism among working parents, and greater teacher career advancement opportunities. Section 3 describes the Hidden Valley Satellite School, a partnership between Hewlett-Packard Co. and the Santa Rosa City School District. The fourth section outlines potential benefits of satellite schools, which offer a solution to school overcrowding at a minimal cost relative to other options. An obstacle is the Field Act, California's seismic-safety standards code that prevents satellite schools from occupying existing office buildings. 73p.
Report NO: Policy Insight n153

References to Journal Articles

Whose School Buildings Are They, Anyway?
Smith, Nelson
Education Next; v12 n49 ; Fall 2012
Explores the sources and consequences of the hold school districts typically enjoy over the financing, development, ownership, and deployment of public school facilities—and some promising strategies for breaking it for charter school facilities.

Investors Go to School on Charters
Cherney, Mike
Wall Street Journal; Jun 12, 2012
Charter schools are drawing more than just increasing numbers of students: Bond investors also are signing up. As charter schools have grown, their bond sales—which usually go toward financing construction of new facilities—have gotten bigger as well, a sign of rising interest from investors. And while the relatively high yields are burdening the schools with higher borrowing costs, they are proving particularly enticing to market participants at a time of near-zero interest rates.

Urban Schools: What’s Next
DeJong, William
School Construction News; May 23, 2012
Today there is a potpourri of public schools operating within urban school districts, including typical PK-12 neighborhood schools; magnet, thematic and choice schools; and a wide variety of charter schools that are operated by the school district or independently. This fragmented scenario creates new challenges and opportunities for facility planners and the facilities divisions in urban public school systems. Recommends creating a non-profit real-estate organization that manages all educational facility assets in a city. Discusses effectively disposing of excess property, or closed school buildings.

Charter Operators Spell Out Barriers to "Scaling Up"
Education Week ; v31 n1 , p1, 17 ; Aug 2011
The pace at which the highest-performing charter-management organizations (CMOs) are "scaling up" is being determined largely by how rapidly they can develop and hire strong leaders and acquire physical space, and by the level of support they receive for growth from city or state policies, say leaders from some charter organizations viewed by advocates as having high student achievement. To explore what might be obstacles to growth for successful charter operators, "Education Week" interviewed leaders of five of the seven CMOs in the NewSchools Venture Fund's portfolio that the fund sees as producing the best student-achievement results. The seven charter operators are: (1) Aspire Public Schools; (2) Achievement First; (3) Green Dot Public Schools; (4) Harlem Success Academy Charter School; (5) the Knowledge Is Power Program; (6) Uncommon Schools; and (7) Rocketship Education.

Addressing the Finance Gap.
Balboni, Elise; Galiatsos, Ann Margaret
Community Developments Investments: Charter School Financing Opportunities; Spring 2011
Discusses the mismatch in the market between the perception and reality of charter schools' creditworthiness for financing purposes. Explores the facilities hurdle, the U.S. Department of Education Credit Enhancement Program, and New Markets Tax Credit funding.

Charter Schools: A Good Credit Risk to Improve Communities.
Sporte, Scott
Community Developments Investments: Charter School Financing Opportunities; Spring 2011
Discusses the role of banks in financing charter schools facilities, explaining that charter schools present a solid credit risk, and their access to financing structures and credit enhancement can help attract capital to the market.

Charter Schools Benefit From New Markets Tax Credit Financing.
Vowell, Laura
Community Developments Investments: Charter School Financing Opportunities; Spring 2011
Discusses the benefits for charter schools to use the New Markets Tax Credit Program, a popular and flexible community development financing tool that allows a charter school to partner with a community development entity in order to receive capital with better rates and terms.

Tipping Point or Turning Point?
Hutton, Thomas
American School Board Journal; v196 n11 , p22-24 ; Nov 2009
Discusses growth in charter schools, increased federal funding for charter schools, the increasing maturity in charter school conception and oversight, demographic particulars of charter school students, local funding issues, and tension and competition between charter schools and traditional schools, as well as between charter schools themselves.

Facilities Funding: Some New Tools for the Never-Ending Challenge.
Alexander, Holly
Charter Schools Today; Summer 2009
Discusses new opportunities for school facilities funding in the economic stimulus plan, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), including school construction bonds and the New Markets Tax Credits program.

Build It Well and the Children Will Come. Adobe PDF
Kelly, Robert
Educational Facility Planner; v43 n4 , p5-9 ; 2009
Profiles the creation of the DC Prep charter school in an 1970's abandoned and run-down former District of Columbia school. In only 40 days, the window- and wall-less open classroom plan was converted into individual classrooms with abundant and inviting common areas featuring vibrant colors and partial illumination from clerestory windows.

Help for Charters in Race for Space.
Robelen, Erik W.
Education Week; v27 n23 , p27-30, 32 ; Feb 2008
This article reports on efforts across the public and private sectors to help charters meet the facilities challenge which have increased substantially in recent years, with the federal government, states, philanthropies, and others stepping up. Analysts, though, say the help still falls far short of the need. An increasingly popular way to help charters--and a method that's much cheaper than direct aid--is "creating credit-enhancement programs" that provide some form of full or partial guarantee for charter schools' debts, easing the risk for lenders. Those programs help charters get loans, and at more favorable rates.

Public Choices.
Kennedy, Mike
American School and University; v79 n9 , p18-20,22,24,26 ; Apr 2007
Reviews with statistics the trend toward enrollment in schools of choice, including private schools, charter schools, and schools outside the resident's district. Voucher programs from a number of states are described, as are some of the serious drains on enrollment prompted by school choice. Facilities implications of these fluid situations are also covered.

Charter School Type Matters When Examining Funding and Facilities: Evidence From California.
Krop, Cathy; Zimmer, Ron
Education Policy Analysis Archives; v13 n50 , p1-27 ; Dec 14, 2005
Examines the finances of charter schools in California, highlighting their fiscal challenges. Using survey data of California charter and conventional public schools, the results suggest that the degree to which a charter school is struggling with resources and facilities depends upon charter school type, and most likely experienced by start-up rather than conversion charter schools. The researchers conclude that California's funding models for start-up schools should be addressed, given the recent growth in these schools and the quest for equity funding throughout the state. Includes 33 references.

Dueling Charter School Research.
Fickes, Michael
School Planning and Management; v44 n3 , p20,22-24 ; Mar 2005
Discusses mixed reports of academic results in charter schools.

Charter Schools Are They Reinvigorating Public Education?
Miller, Jason
On Common Ground; , p28-33 ; Winter 2005
Discusses funding and siting issues for charter schools, including zoning and public school district cooperation or resistance.

Charter Schools-A Grand Experiment.
Moore, Deb
School Planning and Management; v43 n12 , p8 ; Dec 2004
Summarizes the growth of charter schools, the varying strength of state charter laws, and their mixed academic results.

Charter Schools: A Look at State Finance Systems.
Brown, Frank
School Business Affairs; v70 n7 , p24-26 ; Jul-Aug 2004
Discusses the results of a 2000 U.S. Dept. of Education Survey of charter school funding revealing that states general fund charter schools on a per-pupil basis, variously using a state or district average, daily attendance figures, or negotiated funding. A few states include some funding for facilities, but this is not typical. Figures for special education, low income, and at-risk students are included, with federal and private contributions briefly described. (Includes six references.)

A New Approach in Chicago.
Moore, Deb
School Planning and Management; v43 n7 , p8 ; Jul 2004
Describes Chicago's "Renaissance 2010 Neighborhood Schools Program," which aims to turn around the city's most troubled elementary and high schools by creating 100 new small neighborhood schools by 2010. One-third of the schools will be run by Chicago Public Schools, the other two-thirds as charter or contract schools. Civic and corporate entities are contributing financial and technical support.

A Building Need.
Smith, Kim; Willcox, James
Education Next; v4 n2 , p44-51 ; Spring 2004
The lack of facilities financing leaves charter schools competing with traditional public schools on an uneven playing field. Charter school leaders often spend significant time trying to secure loans or donations to cover facilities costs as well as managing any construction or renovation. This article examines the charter school facility challenge and profiles how some states and private foundations are working to address the inequities.

Charter Schools Benefit Community Economic Development.
Halsband, Robin
Journal of Housing and Community Development; , p33-38 ; Nov-Dec 2003
Charter schools have proven an effective tool for urban economic development by reviving communities, providing services, and renovating older buildings. Because charter schools are not provided with a building, they are purchasing or leasing vacant, dilapidated properties and renovating them into spectacular new schools and community centers. Includes several case studies in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Newark.

Financing Autonomy. The Impact of Mission and Scale on Charter School Finance. Adobe PDF
Nelson, F.Howard; Muir, Edward; Drown, Rachel
The State Education Standard; v4 n3 , p38-44 ; Summer 2003
This study found that charter schools get their fair share of operating funds in most states and, frequently, significant capital funding.

Portable Classrooms: Where Are They Going?
Perez, Jennifer; , 3p. ; Aug 2003
This discusses the growing need for portables because of increasing enrollments, intra-district shifts, the push for earlier education for children, continuing education for adults, lower student-teacher ratios, aging facilities, and tightening budgets. Private schools and charter schools are also seeking faster, lower-cost options. Modulars are built to specific building codes, require miminum maintenance, last for decades, and can be designed to withstand heavy wind and snow loads and unique site conditions.

Assessing the Performance of Charter Schools. Adobe PDF
Nida, Thomas A.; Bradley, Bridget C.
Risk Management Association Journal; , p48-57 ; Jan 2003
This describes a tool for lenders to assess the economic and programmatic health of charter schools. This tool examines various financial and academic factors and compares them to benchmarks in order to determine a weighted grade by factor. [You must be registered with the LISC Online Resource Library in order to download the free document.]

Charter Schools: Threat or Boon to Public Schools?
Kennedy, Mike
American School and University; v75 n4 , p18-26 ; Dec 2002
Discusses the development of charter schools in the United States over the past decade, examining the history of the charter school movement, the rapid rise in charter school enrollment (which indicates many parents believe they are working better than the schools they are leaving), and the lack of definitive research on the effectiveness of charter schools. Sidebars describe charter school characteristics and charter school facility issues.

Finding a Home.
Merritt, Edwin T.; Beaudin, James A.
American School and University; v75 n3 , p330-33 ; Nov 2002
Discusses how charter schools often struggle in their search for suitable educational facilities, and offers some possible solutions such as cooperative ownership.

Financing Facilities. Who Pays for School Construction, and How Much? Recent Litigation is Likely to Alter the Landscape of Construction Funding.
Augenblick, John; Silverstein, Justin
American School Board Journal; v189 n10 , p40-42 ; Oct 2002
Reviews several issues having implications for the future nature and funding of school construction, including recent state educational adequacy and equity litigation, smaller class sizes, full-day kindergartens, educational technology, and charter schools.

Schools Adapt Old Lesson: Share and Share Alike.
Fuchs, Marek
New York Times; Sep 18, 2002
This article discusses several schools in New York City that are sharing spaces either with other schools or with noneducational entities. Examples include shared spaces with community centers, the New York City Police Department's School Safety Division, housing projects, charter schools, drug treatment centers, and college campuses.

Charter School Funding Issues.
Sugarman, Stephen D.
Education Policy Analysis Archives; v10 n34 ; Aug 09, 2002
Although a great deal has been written about charter schools, rather little attention has been given to their funding. The first part of this article raises four current issues in the funding of regular public schools across the U.S. and shows how these issues carry over to the funding of charter schools. The second part explores four additional issues that have arisen in the funding of charter schools that go to the core identity of charter schools and the nature of the students they enroll. In both parts, extra attention is paid to developments in California, one of the most active charter school states. [Author's abstract]

Lending to Charter Schools.
Nida, Thomas A.
Risk Management Association Journal; , p52-61 ; May 2002
This article examines charter schools as an emerging market for lenders and identifies the internal and external risks associated with lending to charter schools. Tools for lenders, including an exploration of the five C’s of credit as they apply to charter schools and a ‘Loan Application Checklist,’ are provided.

Law Gives Charter Schools Access to Tax-Exempt Bonds.
Howard, Mark
School Reform News [Heartland Institute]; Apr 2002
A change to federal law permits local school districts and charter schools to enter into public-private partnerships to take advantage of tax-exempt bonds for developing new school facilities as well as renovating, refurbishing, and equipping existing ones. This article includes definitions of a qualified public educational facility, public-private partnership agreement, and a school facility.

Charter Schools 101: What Potential Lenders Should Know About the Industry. Adobe PDF
Nida, Thomas
Risk Management Association Journal; , 4p. ; Spring-Summer 2002
This examines charter school facilities financing issues from the perspective of lenders and investors. This is a primer on the past, present and future of private lending to charter schools. [You must be registered with the LISC Online Resource Library in order to download the free document.]

A Status Report on Charter Schools in New Mexico.
Casey, Jean; Andreson, Kathleen; Yelverton, Barbara; Wedeen, Linda
Phi Delta Kappan; v83 n7 , p518-24 ; Mar 2002
Discusses the status of charter schools in New Mexico, including curriculum and instruction, student achievement, effects of school size, school enrollment, facilities, financial management, compliance with rules and regulations, governance, parent and community involvement, satisfaction with charter schools, and impact on local school districts.

Charter Schools Face a Common Threat: Not Enough Space to Fulfill Their Missions.
Blum, Justin
Washington Post; , pDZ08 ; Feb 21, 2002
This article reports on how charter schools in Washington, DC are frenetically searching for space. To meet their needs, charter school advocates are pressing the city to turn over surplus public schools, unused school-owned land or excess classroom space.

Charter School: Up and Running.
Crawford, Doug
Commercial Modular Construction Magazine; , p12-15 ; Jan-Feb 2002
This article describes how modular construction enabled Newark Charter School in Newark, Delaware to meet its deadlines, tight budget, house 435 students between the fifth and seventh grades, and fulfill the community's needs for after-school activity and meeting space.

Charter Schools.
Rittner-Heir, Robbin M.
School Planning and Management; v40 n12 , p13-14 ; Dec 2001
Examines the popularity of America's charter schools, the seven major legal and policy areas that figure into the development of each state's charter school legislation, and their funding. The article discusses how charter schools compare to public schools on student test scores and their effect on public school district operations and financing.

In Building A Charter School, the Hard Job is Getting it Built
Wilgoren, Jodi
New York Times; , pA1, A14 ; Jul 07, 2001
Virtually no public money is set aside for charter school construction of any kind. So charters, meant to inject into education the discipline and competition of the private sector, must largely rely on philanthropy or financiers. This articles provides a case study of the Bronx Preparatory Charter School in New York City.

Case Study: Charter Schools.
Airikka, Robert
Commercial Modular Construction Magazine; Jul 2001
This discusses three approaches to finding the right building for a charter school: 1) Finding an available existing school building that can be occupied by the new charter school; 2) Finding and renovating an existing industrial or commercial building; and 3) Finding a suitable site and constructing a new charter school building. Schedule, quality and cost are a common concern of all three approaches. This also recommends considering modern steel and concrete modular construction technology that can provide a new school in as little as six months.

Some States Help Charter Schools Put a Roof Overhead.
Sandham, Jessica
Education Week; v20, n41 , p23 ; Jun 20, 2001
Only eight states have programs that provide direct funding for charter school capital expenses through grants or per-pupil allocations. This discusses the unique challenges facing charter schools when it comes to paying for facilities. Includes examples from several states. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Building a New Role: States and School Facilities. Adobe PDF
Sandham, Jessica L.; Alan, Richard; Johnston, Robert C.
Education Week ; , 41p. ; Jun 2001
This report presents articles that explore the changing role of the states in addressing the nation's need to build and modernize its public schools. The article, "Doling Out Facilities Aid Proves Tricky," explains how some states have learned that securing funds is only one part of helping districts pay for construction. "Some States Help Charter Schools Put a Roof Overhead" discusses charter school facility funding. "Town and Country" explores why urban and rural communities are going to court in search of more help from their states in constructing and upgrading schools. "Out in the Cold" discusses how Alaskan state leaders have been court ordered to improve the condition of schools in the state's far-flung rural villages. "Urban Renewal" examines how, after a lengthy court battle, New Jersey's cities are on the brink of receiving a multibillion-dollar infusion of state aid to improve their school buildings. "Capitol Expenditures" shows how more states are abandoning their traditionally hands-off approach to helping districts build and upgrade schools because of litigation over inequities, increasing enrollments, and evolving educational demands. Finally, "Side-by-Side States are Far Apart in Funding for Facilities" discusses Washington state's leading role in helping fund school construction and renovation while Idaho leaves these issues for the school districts to handle.

Why Charter Schools Stumble--and Sometimes Fall.
Paglin, Catherine
Northwest Education; v6 n3 , p20-25 ; Spring 2001
A study by a charter school advocacy group found the most common reason for charter school closure was mismanagement, followed by financial difficulties, inability to find a suitable facility, and failure to meet the academic goals of their charter. Vignettes of charter schools in Alaska and Oregon illustrate these problems and offer advice for avoiding them.

Charters Hit by Facilities Funding Woes.
Bowman, Darcia Harris
Education Week; v20 n10 , p1, 18-19 ; Nov 08, 2000
Discusses the lack of access to construction aid for charter schools, the role that the Federal government may play to help ease the crunch, and creative ways charter school operators find financing. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Panelists Offer Advice to Charter Schools For Dealing with Obstacles to Financing.
Charter Schools Bulletin; Fall-Winter 2000
Panelists at a session discussing financing issues at the 2000 National Charter School Conference in Washington, D.C., offered suggestions how charter schools might overcome their inherent disadvantage when seeking financing. Discusses bond ratings, and includes a case study.

Charter Schools and Private Profits.
Plank, David; Arsen, David; Sykes, Gary
The School Administrator; v57 n5 , p12-14,18 ; May 2000
Although charter schools are both public and accountable, they are increasingly being operated by private, for-profit educational management organizations. EMOs profit by reducing labor costs (cutting employment or compensation), using economies of scale (operating larger facilities); and providing fewer services (educating "mainstream" elementary students).
TO ORDER: American Association of School Administrators, 801 N. Quincy St., Ste. 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730; Tel: 703-875-0745; Email:

Report Urges More Oversight of Massachusetts Charter Schools.
Education Week ; v19 n17 , p20 ; Jan 12, 2000
A report from the inspector general in Massachusetts criticizes charter schools' business operations and the state's supervision of those practices. It claims that many charter schools in the state have taken out large loans to pay for facilities and that some schools have signed contracts with school management companies that are unclear or otherwise pose "unwarranted risks" to the schools and taxpayers. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Merrill Lynch Promotes Investing in Charter Schools.
Charter Schools Bulletin; Fall 1999
In a "white paper" examining the potential for investors in the huge education and training industry, Merrill Lynch forecasts significant opportunities in charter schools and private education managment companies. Challenges charter schools face with start-up financing and acquiring real estate are highlighted. The report notes that more traditional sources of capital have become available to charters schools, including bank loans, private equity or the public debt markets with municipal-type bonds. Charter schools also could receive funding through participating in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

Creating Schools at Work Sites.
The School Administrator; v55 n10 , p60 ; Nov 1998
Reports the trend that finds major businesses across the U.S. providing work-site school facilities for their employees' children, wherein the corporation provides the facility space, utilities, and maintenance services to operate the school on or near its property, and the state provides the teachers and aides, books, curriculum materials, and school equipment. Discusses the operating rules of work-site schools and the multiple benefits associated with them.
TO ORDER: American Association of School Administrators, 801 N. Quincy St., Ste. 700, Arlington, VA 22203-1730; Tel: 703-875-0745; Email:

Builder Teams with Municipality to Provide all School Services
ENR: Engineering News-Record; v240 n14 , p14 ; Apr 06, 1998
Pembroke Pines, Florida, is to have the first municipally run open-enrollment charter school, with turnkey educational services being provided by a division of the Haskell Company, a design-build company delivering the school. According to Alex Fekete, mayor of Pembroke Pines, project costs for the Haskell Charter School are $6,800 per student station, whereas the state's average is $13,000 per student station.

Worksite Charter Schools Take the Edge Off Commuting.
Schnaiberg, Lynn
Education Week; Mar 25, 1998
Medical Center Charter School was designed to educate the children of some of the 50,000 employees who work nearby in the 675-acre Texas Medical Center. The idea itself is not new. At least 30 public schools serving the children of employees at the workplace dot the nation. But overall, some charter proponents and employers say, public schools are not adapting quickly enough to the real needs of working parents. [Free subscriber registration is required.]

Heat and Light in the Charter School Movement
Nathan, Joe
Phi Delta Kappan; v79 n7 , p499-505 ; Mar 1998
Charter schools are challenged to find appropriate, inexpensive assessment measures, accommodate special-education students, discover effective governance models, organize learning and teaching effectively, and attract diverse students. External challenges include studying effects of multiple sponsorships, weak charter laws, and involvement of for-profit companies; mitigating questionable research; confronting facilities issues; and gaining committed converts. (32 references)

Business Classes.
Renschler, Todd
City Pages [Minneapolis, MN]; v18 n854 ; Apr 16, 1997
News article on corporate sponsored public schools located at, or near, corporate work sites in Minnesota. This discusses the pros and cons of satellite schools.



Due to lack of funding, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities is currently available only as an archived site. As of September 1, 2012 no new content will be added or updates made. We regret the need to take such steps, but should funding become available, we look forward to reinvigorating NCEF and providing this valuable resource to the educational facilities community.

If you have questions or are an organization or company wishing to support the continued operation of this industry recognized resource please contact Institute President Henry Green (, 202-289-7800).