It’s time for Ohio to create a credit enhancement program for

Rarely do you see media coverage in Ohio about a public charter school embarking on an ambitious expansion. It’s not that the press is hostile to charters; it’s that such expansions don’t often occur in Ohio. That’s because Buckeye charters typically lack access to the resources that allow them to undertake large-scale capital projects. It’s also why recent news reports about Cornerstone Academy are worthy of note. The 1,000-student Westerville charter school managed to secure $30 million in bond financing via the Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority for a significant facilities project. This is terrific news for Cornerstone and its students. Yet those same articles illustrate a shortcoming in Ohio’s charter facility policies: lack of access to affordable financing for capital projects. Cornerstone will be paying 7 percent interest on the bond.

While that seems normal in today’s high

Rate environment, it’s still a lot to pay Albania Phone Number List for debt service. And it’s a lot more than traditional districts typically pay for capital projects. Dublin City Schools, for instance, recently secured $95 million in bond financing at 3.99 percent interest. Similarly, Bowling Green City Schools just obtained $73 million in financing at 4.08 percent. It is true that charters, unlike districts, can close or be closed and they don’t have the power to tax, factors that may help to explain Cornerstone’s higher interest rate. But—just like districts—charters are public schools, held fully accountable for being fiscally responsible, as well as for their academic results.

Charters also provide

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Tens of thousands of Ohio families with CW Leads additional public school options, and on average, they outperform their local school district. To grow at scale, charter schools need access to more affordable financing. The high cost of debt servicing discourages many charters from undertaking capital projects in the first place, which often means they operate in less-than-optimal facilities. And when they do embark on substantial facilities improvements, the high interest rates they must pay tie up more of their budget with debt service and leave fewer dollars for classroom instruction. Given these challenges, it’s no surprise that only a handful of Ohio charters have ever accessed bond financing for capital projects.

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