Empty high school classroom.
The department wants to improve the infrastructure and overall facility quality of the schools. Photo: Pixabay.

U.S. Department of Education dishes out $33 million to develop charter schools

The funds are supposed to go towards improving school infrastructure.


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Building Hope, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit dedicated to creating high-quality k-12 charter school opportunities for students, recently announced that its Building Hope Finance was selected to be part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program — a $33 million effort to improve charter school infrastructure nationwide.

Bob Marshall, banking executive and member of Building Hope’s board of directors, stated:

The ultimate impact to our partners and their communities is that more doors will be open for even more children to learn.

The Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program

Between six and 10 entities are awarded every year with grant funds that support the Department of Education's efforts to create and replicate high-quality public charter schools, and help those schools find suitable facilities.

Noted as the largest single Credit Improvement grant ever awarded to one entity, the funds are also intended to help schools attract and gain access to private lending sources.

“This grant will continue Building Hope’s efforts in aiding charter schools and providing the resources, facilities, and credit structures needed to build sustainable education alternatives where they are needed most,” added Marshall.

Program benefits

The Charter School Facilities Credit Enhancement Program awards grants to entities, such as Building Hope, to enable them to improve the credit of charter schools so they can efficiently access capital for their facilities.

Among the things the grant can be used for, the following stand out:

  • Acquiring or leasing property for charter school operations
  • Building, renovating, altering or repairing existing facilities
  • Evaluating school sites and funding costs prior to developing a school facility

As the grant recipient, Building Hope will use the funds to guarantee leases and loans to charter schools, and facilitate financing to charter schools located in Florida, Idaho, Nevada, Texas, and Washington, D.C.

“This grant funding is critical for young charter schools because lenders and landlords often request additional guarantees or credit support in order to finance or lease to schools without established track records,” said Robin Odland, president of Building Hope Finance.

Building Hope vice president Lance Helming, said: “Since 2003, we have leveraged $482 million in loans, credit enhancements and equity investments to support more than $2 billion in school construction costs, benefitting nearly 200,000 students across the country.”


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