WHY WE DO IT
We believe all schools should be able to put as much money as possible into the classroom. Today, however, many public charter schools find that they spend a large piece of their funding paying for their facility rather than teaching. The Education Opportunity Fund was designed to address this issue, as we can usually acquire existing facilities at much less than their replacement cost. We work with schools to put more of that money back in classroom.
The National Challenge:
High quality public education options are now expected by parents and desired by school districts. To deliver this, school districts are looking for improvement strategies that will positively impact student achievement. The biggest barrier for new public charter schools is the ability to identify and finance a new facility.
The Colorado Challenge:
State and Federal policies require underperforming and failing schools to adopt a turnaround plan when a school underperforms for five years. In Colorado, 140 schools in 21 school districts are on that list and are in year three or four of a five-year turnaround plan. Efforts to turn these failing schools around have proven largely unsuccessful. In fact, Federal School Improvement Grant (SIG) records show that academic performance actually fell in most of the targeted schools. For many, the next step involves becoming a charter school. Development and expansion of charter schools is critical for the growth of quality, high-performing education seats in Colorado.
Why is a real estate fund for public charter school capital construction needed?
One of the biggest barriers for new public charter schools is the ability to identify, acquire and occupy a new facility. Most charter and public schools pay for their facilities with Per Pupil Revenue (PPR), which was intended for the classroom.
A 2008 study showed that charter schools pay, on average, $480 per student for facility costs. In 2012 that increased to $606 per student while debt service has remained stagnant.
The Education Opportunity Fund offers considerable real estate expertise and a uniquely innovative approach that sees value in existing vacant properties. The Fund brings these properties back to life as schools that can revitalize communities and serve parents, students and teachers.
One of the biggest challenges charter schools face is access to capital and expertise in finding a facility that will truly meet their needs. The Education Opportunity Fund addresses both the need for funding and the expertise in real estate.