Measuring Up to the Model



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19. Equitable Access to Capital Funding and Facilities

19A. A per-pupil facilities allowance which annually reflects actual average district capital costs.

19B. A state grant program for charter school facilities.

19C. A state loan program for charter school facilities.

19D. Equal access to tax-exempt bonding authorities or allow charter schools to have their own bonding authority.

19E. A mechanism to provide credit enhancement for public charter school facilities.

19F. Equal access to existing state facilities programs available to non-charter public schools.

19G. Right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed, unused, or underused public school facility or property.

19H. Prohibition of facility-related requirements stricter than those applied to traditional public schools.

How well do states’ laws align to this component of the model law?

State

Charter Law Description

Score

Alaska

Alaska law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for equitable access to capital funding and facilities. However, Alaska law provides that charter schools are eligible through their local municipalities to access tax-exempt financing through the Alaska Municipal Bond Bank Authority.

Alaska law also creates a supplemental charter school facilities construction, lease, and major maintenance grant program, but the legislature has not appropriated any money to fund it.

4

Arizona

Arizona law provides charter schools with a per pupil allocation called “additional assistance” that may be used for facility construction as well as other operational needs. Statute provides that this amount is $1,684.19 per K-8 pupil and $1,962.90 per high school pupil. There is no provision, however, for this amount to be adjusted to reflect average facility funding received by traditional public schools or a construction price index.

Arizona law allows non-profit charter schools to apply for bond financing from Industrial Development Authorities.

Arizona law requires the state department of education, in conjunction with the state department of administration, to compile and publish an annual list of vacant and unused buildings or portions of buildings owned by the state or school districts that may be suitable for the operation of a charter school. However, nothing requires the owner to offer the right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value to charter schools.

Arizona law classifies charter schools the same as public schools that are operated by a school district for the purposes of assessments of zoning fees, site plan fees, and development fees, including any required hearings or applications. It also prevents any political subdivision of the state from enacting or interpreting any law, rule, or ordinance in a manner that conflicts with that designation.

8

Arkansas

Arkansas law creates an open enrollment public charter school capital grant program. However, the state has not provided funding to this program.

Arkansas law creates an open enrollment public charter school facilities loan fund. However, the state has not provided funding to this program.

Arkansas law provides that a school district or public charter school may enter into public-private partnerships whereby the school district or public charter school enters into a lease-purchase agreement for the acquisition or construction of a school building or related facilities built or acquired by the private entities with facilities bonds exempt from federal taxes.

Arkansas law gives open enrollment charter schools the right of first refusal to purchase or lease at fair market value a closed public school or unused potions of a public school located in a district from which it draws it students. It also provides that a district may not require lease payments that exceed the fair market value of a property, and that a district is not required to lease to an open enrollment charter school if an offer higher than fair market value is offered by an entity other than the charter school through a competitive bid process.

4

California

California law created the Charter School Facility Grant Program (via SB 740) that provides up to $750 per pupil in lease reimbursement for charter schools in attendance areas where 70% of students qualify for free and reduced price lunch; payments may not exceed 75% of total annual facilities rent costs. In 2012, the legislature increased the funding to the program by $15 million, bringing the total to $93 million.

Under California law, the Charter School Facilities Program authorizes the State Allocation Board to provide per-pupil facilities grant funding for 50% of the total project cost for new construction or renovation of charter facilities. This program is subject to available statewide school bonds passed to support charter school facilities. Currently, no funding is available for this program, while a backlog of almost $2 billion in eligible projects exists. Proposition 47, Proposition 55, and Proposition 1D have placed more than $800 million in a fund for charter school facility development.

Under California law, the Charter School Revolving Loan Program provides below-market loans of up to $250,000 for new-start charter schools, allowing up to five years for repayment. A school may use these loans for any start-up costs, including facilities.

California law provides that charter schools are eligible to access tax-exempt bond financing through the state and eligible to access public borrowing through county boards of education and county treasuries. California law also provides that the state treasurer's office offer a limited credit enhancement program.

The law requires districts to provide charter schools with facilities that are sufficient to accommodate charter school needs and reasonably equivalent to other district facilities, through an annual application process. It allows a district to charge a charter school only a proportionate share of its facilities costs that are paid from the general fund. The law includes a limited option for charter schools to receive the “first right of refusal” to any surplus school district property (but only to July 1, 2016 unless the provision is extended).

California law provides that privately owned charter facilities are exempt from the state building code and that only facilities built with state bond funds must comply with the code.

12

Colorado

Colorado law provides a per-pupil charter facilities funding program. For FY2014, the state appropriated $7 million in capital construction funds to qualified charter schools on a per-pupil basis. This amount, however, is not based on average district capital costs.

Colorado law allows charter schools to apply for competitive grants from the state’s public school facility financing program.

Colorado law creates the “Charter School Matching Moneys Loan Program,” which is set up to provide a state loan for qualified schools (i.e., investment grade schools) to meet any required matches under the state’s public school facility financing program.

The law requires school districts to invite charter schools to discuss their capital construction needs before the district submits a bond request or floats a bond for facilities funding. Districts are not required, however, to include charter schools as part of their requests or bonds.

Colorado law provides a mechanism for limited credit enhancement for eligible, highly rated bond transactions for charter schools by using the state’s moral obligation to back up to $400 million in debt.

Colorado law provides that the Educational and Colorado Cultural Facility Authority (CECFA) may issue bonds on behalf of charter schools. The charter school debt reserve fund, backed by the moral obligation pledge of the state, enhances charter schools’ ability to borrow funds from CECFA and to obtain more favorable rates.

The law specifies that a charter school may not be charged rent for using space in a school district facility, although other costs for facilities operations and maintenance must be negotiated between the charter school and the school district. The law explicitly allows charter schools to lease or purchase land from the state.

12

Connecticut

Connecticut law has provided $20 million in bond financing to support charter school facilities, dispersed through a competitive application process. In addition, Connecticut law created a pilot to provide $25 million in bond financing for one charter school, which is similar to that available for traditional districts (whereby the state covers 80% and other sources cover 20%).

Connecticut law allows a charter school to apply for low-interest loans from the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority.

Connecticut law also creates incentives for school districts to enter into voluntary agreements with high performing charter schools to provide material support to such schools, such as the use of a district facility. By doing so, districts are given permission to count the performance of the charter school students as part of the district for the purposes of No Child Left Behind compliance.

8

Delaware

Delaware law requires the state department of education to administer a performance fund for charter schools, to be known as the “Charter School Performance Fund.” It requires the department to establish threshold eligibility requirements for applicants desiring to apply for funding, which shall include but not be limited to a proven track record of success, as measured by a performance framework established by the charter school’s authorizer or comparable measures as defined by the department. It also requires the department to establish criteria to evaluate applications for funding, which shall include but not be limited to the availability of supplemental funding from non-State sources at a ratio to be determined by the department. The law requires the department to prioritize those applications from applicants that have developed high-quality plans for start-up or expansion or serve high-need students, as defined by the department. The law provides that the fund shall be subject to appropriation and shall not exceed $5 million annually. In 2013, the state appropriated $2 million to this fund.

Delaware law provides that charter schools are eligible to access tax-exempt bond financing through the Delaware Economic Development Authority and have access to the tax-exempt bond market through the county in which they reside. It also provides that charter schools have the same access to conduit bond financing as any other non-profit organization and that no state or local government unit may impose any condition or restriction on a charter school’s approval solely because the applicant is a public charter school.

The law provides that the state shall fund minor capital improvements at charter schools in the same manner as the state funds such improvements at vocational technical school districts.
Delaware law provides that school districts must make unused buildings or space in buildings available for charter schools and must bargain in good faith over the cost of rent, services, and maintenance related to such space.

Delaware law requires the state department of education and state department of administrative services to publish a list of all vacant and unused buildings and portions of buildings owned by the state or school districts that may be suitable for charter schools.

8

District of Columbia

The law provides a per-pupil facilities aid program. The Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Support Act of 2012 set the public charter schools facilities allowance at $2,940 per student and the D.C. Public Schools capital budget at $7,992 per student.

Congress provides the City Build Charter School Initiative, which promotes community revitalization with a particular emphasis on strengthening public charter schools. Most of the grants from this program have been allocated for facilities and expansion projects. The FY 2009 District of Columbia Appropriations Act included $3.25 million for the program.

The law allows charter schools to access tax-exempt bonds through DC’s Revenue Bond Program.

The law provides the Public Charter School Credit Enhancement Fund, which provides credit enhancement for the purchase, construction, and/or renovation of facilities for charter schools. The program offers guarantees or collateral pledges of up to $3 million for two to five years.

The law provides the Direct Loan Fund for Charter School Improvement, which provides flexible loan capital for the construction, purchase, renovation, and maintenance of charter school facilities. Loans are capped at $2 million per school. In FY 2009, $4.5 million in federal appropriations was earmarked for this initiative.

The law requires the mayor and the DC government to give charter schools a right of first offer for the purchase, lease, transfer, or use of surplus public facilities or properties.

12

Florida

Florida law provides a per-pupil charter facilities funding program for eligible charter schools. It specifies that a school is eligible if it has been in operation at least three years, is part of an expanded feeder pattern chain, or is accredited. It provides that eligible schools receive per-pupil dollars based on a formula. In 2013, the legislature appropriated $91 million for this fund.

Florida law provides that a local school board may levy up to 1.5 mills for district schools, including charter schools, for the construction, renovation, remodeling, maintenance, and repair of educational facilities, the purchase, lease or lease-purchase of equipment, vehicles, educational facilities and construction materials directly related to the delivery of student instruction, and the rental or lease of educational facilities.

Florida law allows the Florida Industrial Development Financing Act to authorize any county or municipality to issue tax-exempt industrial development bonds to finance the cost of eligible projects, including facilities owned and operated by charter schools.

Florida law allows charter schools to either opt into the facilities rules applicable to other schools or meet local building codes.

Florida law provides an exemption from ad valorem taxes for facilities used to house charter schools.

Florida law provides that charter school facilities are created specifically to address population increases from new residential dwellings and that some or all of the educational impact fees required to be paid in connection with new residential dwellings may be designated for the construction of charter school facilities.

8

Georgia

Georgia law provides a per-pupil, needs-based capital-funding program that is distributed through a competitive grant process. The state appropriated roughly $1.6 million to the program for the 2013-14 school year.

Georgia law provides state charter schools and state chartered special schools with an amount equal to the state-wide average total capital revenue per full-time equivalent, as determined by the state department of education. Statute notes that such funding is subject to the appropriations by the General Assembly, but that such schools shall be treated consistently with all other public schools in the state, pursuant to the respective statutory funding formulas and grants. Currently, the state is providing approximately $1,100 per pupil for this item.

Georgia law provides charters with access to tax-exempt debt through county development authorities.

Georgia law requires each local board of education to make available any vacant or otherwise unused facility to locally-authorized charters at no lease cost, with any additional terms of use to be negotiated by the parties.

Statute also now indicates that local charter schools which petition to be authorized by the commission must be allowed to continue the use of all facilities, equipment, and other assets it used prior to the expiration or rescission of its charter with a local board of education; however, the local school board can begin to charge or continue to charge a reasonable fee for use of the facilities if the school switches to the commission.

8

Hawaii

Hawaii law allows the commission to request facilities funding as part of its annual budget request to the director of finance beginning with fiscal year 2014-15. The legislature is currently not providing funding for facilities costs.

Hawaii law requires the state department of education to make vacant public school facilities available to charter schools.

4

Idaho

Idaho law requires the state department of education to distribute facilities funds to public charter schools for each enrolled student in which a majority of the student's instruction is received at a facility that is owned or leased by the public charter school. It provides that such funds shall be used to defray the purchase, fee, loan or lease costs associated with payments for real property used by the students or employees of the public charter school for educational or administrative purposes.

It provides that such funds shall be distributed from the moneys appropriated to the educational support program and shall be calculated as a percentage of the statewide average amount of bond and plant facility funds levied per student by Idaho school districts, as follows:

* Fiscal Year 2014: 20%
* Fiscal Year 2015: 30%
* For fiscal year 2016 and each fiscal year thereafter, this percentage shall increase by 10% each time the total appropriation of state funds for the educational support program increases by 3% or more over the prior fiscal year and shall decrease by 10% each time the total appropriation of state funds for the educational support program decreases as compared to the prior fiscal year. Provided however, that the percentage shall be no less than 20% and no greater than 50% and that the average amount of funding received per public charter school shall not exceed the average amount of funding received by each school district.

For those public charter schools that do not receive facilities funds for all enrolled students, the law allows the school to submit to the state department of education a reimbursement claim for any costs for which facilities funds may be used.
The law requires the state department of education to reduce such claim by the greater of 50% or the percentage of the school's enrolled students for which the school receives facilities funds and to pay the balance. Provided however, that the total reimbursements paid to a public charter school, in combination with any facilities stipend received by the school, shall not exceed the amount of facilities funds that would have been received by the school had the school received facilities funds for all enrolled students.

Idaho law provides that charter schools are eligible for tax-exempt facilities financing using Nonprofit Facilities Revenue Bonds issued by the Idaho Housing and Financing Association.

The law gives school districts the authority to authorize the transfer or conveyance of any surplus district-owned property to various public entities including charter schools.

8

Illinois

Under current law, charters may receive no less than 75% and no more than 125% of what traditional public schools receive in per pupil funding.

A charter school may apply for and receive, subject to the same restrictions applicable to school districts, any grant administered by the State Board that is available for school districts.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Illinois charter schools were receiving on average $10,616 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $12,130 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $1,514 per pupil - or 12.5% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

4

Indiana

Indiana law establishes the charter school facilities assistance program to make grants and loans to charter schools for the purpose of constructing, purchasing, renovating, maintaining, paying first semester costs for new schools, and reducing common school fund debt for charter schools. Indiana provided $17 million to this program in 2011. While the funds for the grant portion of this program have run out, funds remain for the loan portion of this program.

Indiana law grants charter schools located in Indianapolis the ability to obtain facilities financing from the local public improvement bond bank and all other charter schools the ability to obtain financing through the Indiana Bond Bank.
Indiana law provides that charter schools have the moral obligation pledge of the City or State to debt issued through these authorities.

Indiana law provides that a local school board must make available for lease or purchase to any charter school any school building owned by the school district that was previously used for classroom instruction if it is not used in whole or in part for classroom instruction at the time the charter school seeks to lease the building or it appears on the list of available school buildings compiled by the state department of education.

The law provides that if a charter school wishes to use a school building on the list created by the state department of education, the charter school must send a letter of intent to the department. The department must notify the school district of the charter school's intent, and the school district that owns the school building must lease the school building to the charter school for $1 per year for as long as the charter school uses the school building for classroom instruction or for a term at the charter school's discretion, or sell the school building to the charter school for $1.

8

Iowa

Iowa law includes none of the model law's provisions for equitable access to capital funding and facilities.

0

Kansas

Kansas law includes none of the model law's provisions for equitable access to capital funding and facilities.

0

Louisiana

Louisiana law provides the Louisiana Charter School Start-Up Fund, which provides zero-interest loans for both new and existing charter schools of up to $100,000 with terms of up to three years. It allows the loans to be used for facility acquisition, upgrade and repairs. The state is not currently funding this program.

Louisiana law provides that charter schools are eligible to access tax-exempt financing through the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority.

Louisiana law requires local school boards to make available to chartering groups any vacant school facilities or any facility slated to be vacant for lease or purchase at fair market value.

4

Maine

Maine law provides that charter schools have right of first refusal to purchase or lease any school facilities or property and that the price cannot exceed the fair market value of the property.

The law also provides that the facility of a charter school is subject to the same building codes, regulations and fees that apply to other non-charter schools.

4

Maryland

Maryland law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for equitable access to capital funding and facilities. However, Maryland law provides that charter schools are eligible for tax-exempt debt from the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority, but they are not backed by the “full faith and credit” of the State of Maryland.

If, with the approval of the state superintendent of education, a county school board determines that a school site or building no longer is needed for school purposes and after the county commissioners or county council have provided required notice, Maryland law requires county school boards to notify public charter schools about school sites and buildings available for occupation and use on terms determined by the county school board. However, the law does not give charter schools the right of first refusal to purchase or lease these sites or buildings at or below fair market value.

4

Massachusetts

Massachusetts law requires the state department of education to provide, subject to appropriation, funding to charter schools for a portion of the per pupil capital needs component included in the charter tuition amount. It requires the department to calculate a statewide per pupil average expenditure from state and local sources for capital costs solely associated with payments, including interest and principle payments, for the construction, renovation, purchase, acquisition, or improvement of school buildings and land, multiply said amount by the number of students the district sends to charter schools, and reimburse these sending school districts for said costs. In making these calculations, it requires the department to use data from the most recent year for which actual district expenditures have been reported by districts to the department. For Fiscal Year 2012, the per-pupil capital needs component was $893.

Massachusetts law allows charter schools to access tax-exempt bond financing for capital projects through the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency.

While not created in statute, the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency provides loan guarantees for charter facilities projects.

8

Michigan

Michigan law provides that charters sponsored by school districts can access district bond levy funds for facilities as determined by their charter. It also provides that all charter schools are eligible to access tax-exempt financing and technical assistance through the Michigan Public Educational Facilities Authority’s bonding and loan programs.

Statute states that property occupied by a charter school and used exclusively for educational purposes is exempt from a portion of school property taxes.

4

Minnesota

Minnesota law prohibits charter schools from using any state funds to purchase land or buildings, although charter schools may do so with non-state funds. It allows charter schools to lease space from a public or private owner or from a private nonprofit, nonsectarian, nonprofit, and with approval of the state department of education from other sectarian organizations. It is illegal for authorizers to lease space to their authorized schools.

Minnesota law provides lease aid to charter schools in the amount of 90% of lease costs, up to $1,314 per-pupil for Fiscal Year 2015. This amount, however, does not have a mechanism to increase over time and is a separate legislative appropriation.

Minnesota law specifies that charter schools that own their own facilities may not receive lease aid. However, it allows charter schools that meet certain requirements (e.g., have net unreserved general fund balances) to, with state commissioner approval, create an affiliated nonprofit building corporation, which may renovate or purchase an existing facility or expand an existing building or construct a new school facility. The law allows such nonprofit building corporations to secure financing through various sources available to other nonprofits (e.g., municipal bonds, mortgages), and allows charter schools to use their lease aid for facilities owned by nonprofit building corporations.

8

Mississippi

State law provides that a charter school has a right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed public school facility or property or unused portions of a public school facility or property in the school district in which the charter school is located if the school district decides to sell or lease the public school facility or property. It also provides that a charter school may negotiate and contract at or below fair market value with a school district, state institution of higher learning, public community or junior college, or any other public or for-profit or nonprofit private entity for the use of a facility for a school building. States law allows public entities, including, but not limited to, libraries, community service organizations, museums, performing arts venues, theatres, cinemas, churches, community and junior colleges, colleges and universities, to provide space to charter schools within their facilities under their preexisting zoning and land use designations.

4

Missouri

Missouri law provides that a school district may incur bonded indebtedness or take other measures to provide for physical facilities for charter schools that it authorizes or with which it contracts.

Missouri law also allows charter schools to access bonds through the Missouri Health & Educational Facilities Authority.

4

Nevada

Nevada law authorizes the Director of the Department of Business and Industry to issue bonds and other obligations to finance the acquisition, construction, improvement, restoration, or rehabilitation of property, buildings, and facilities for charter schools.

4

New Hampshire

New Hampshire law provides that charter schools are also eligible to access tax-exempt financing through the New Hampshire Health and Education Facilities Authority.

New Hampshire law allows charter schools to lease, through the school district, buildings that receive state school building aid.

New Hampshire law also provides that charter schools are eligible for state grants for leased space similar to other public schools, but the state has not appropriated any dollars to fund these grants.

4

New Jersey

New Jersey law provides charter schools access to tax-exempt bonds from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

In a recent national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), New Jersey charter schools were receiving on average $12,908 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $19,782 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $6,874 per pupil - or 34.7% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals significant inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #18 for information on operational issues).

4

New Mexico

New Mexico law provides lease payments for charter schools at $700 per student for 2012-13. The law pegs this amount to an inflation index to determine future year allotments.

The law allows the New Mexico Finance Authority to use public bond funds to construct charter facilities in a pilot program for up to seven charter schools. It allows funds loaned by the Finance Authority may be used for the acquisition of buildings, land, and facilities.

The law allows charter schools to access tax-exempt debt from counties.

The law requires school districts to share local facilities funds with public charter schools in a proportionate share to a charter’s enrollment. It allows these funds to be used as payments for approved lease-to-purchase agreements.

The law requires tax levy resolutions submitted by a district to the voters for approval to contain capital improvement funding for public charter schools that have an approved facility plan and that have been renewed one time. In practice, making this provision a reality has been a battle, especially for state-chartered schools.

The law allows charter schools to access public capital outlay grants through the Public School Capital Outlay Council in somewhat similar ways other public schools in the state.

The law requires the school district in which a charter school is geographically located to provide a charter school with available facilities for the school's operations unless the facilities are currently used for other educational purposes. It allows an agreement for the use of school district facilities by a charter school to provide for reasonable lease payments. Full implementation of the law has been problematic.

The law requires public charter schools to move to public buildings by 2015 or meet other conditions provided by law. For charter schools that are purchasing existing buildings or constructing new buildings, the law provides that such facilities must meet the average facility condition index of all public school buildings in the state.

8

New York

New York law provides a charter schools stimulus fund, which provides discretionary financial support to charter schools for start-up costs and for costs associated with the acquisition, renovation, and construction of school facilities. Currently, the state has appropriated approximately $3.1 million to this fund.

New York law defines charter schools as public agents that are eligible to obtain tax-exempt financing through various local industrial development agencies.

For charter schools issued a charter provided under the 200-school cap, the law subjects them to the local land-use and zoning and building codes applicable to non-public schools.

For charter schools issued a charter provided under the 260 additional charters, the law subjects them to the same local land use, zoning, and building code compliance as regular public schools. In addition, the law requires such charter schools to gain approval for their facilities from the state education department and requires them to comply with all department health, sanitary, and safety requirements applicable to public school facilities. However, the law allows the state education department to grant a waiver from such requirements where the school can demonstrate undue economic hardship or where other good cause exists.

Statute provides that the New York City Schools Chancellor must identify and publish which public school buildings are subject to location or co-location of charter schools. The law requires the Chancellor to develop a building usage plan that defines the allocation of classroom and administrative space between the charter and non-charter schools and the collaborative usage of shared resources and spaces. The law requires such allocations to result in an equitable and comparable use of public school buildings between charter and non-charter schools, including equity in any funding received for facility upgrades.

4

North Carolina

North Carolina law allows the North Carolina Capital Facilities Finance Authority to issue bonds on behalf of charter schools provided that there is a 20-year maximum on the bond and that no bond shall be graded below an A (but it has not done so to date).

North Carolina law provides that at the request of a charter school, a local board of education of the local school administrative unit in which the charter school will be located shall lease any available building or land to the charter school unless the board demonstrates that the lease is not economically or practically feasible or that the local board does not have adequate classroom space to meet its enrollment needs. The law also allows a local board of education to provide a school facility to a charter school free of charge; however, the charter school is responsible for the maintenance of and insurance for the school facility. The law also states that if a charter school has requested to lease available buildings or land and is unable to reach an agreement with the local board of education, the charter school shall have the right to appeal to the board of county commissioners in which the building or land is located. The board of county commissioners shall have the final decision-making authority on the leasing of the available building or land.

4

Ohio

Ohio law provides brick-and-mortar schools with $100 per pupil for facilities funding.

Ohio law allows charter schools to use loans guaranteed under the Community Schools Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program for the construction of new school buildings. The state is not funding this program.

Ohio law also creates a revolving loan fund that allows charter schools to apply to use funds for any services described in their charter. The law provides that the maximum cumulative loan amount is $250,000 and that it must be repaid within five years. The state is not funding this program.

Statute requires districts to lease and sell unused buildings to charter schools located in the same district at a price not higher than the appraised market value and the appraisal must not be more than one year old.

The law provides that the Schoolhouse Tax Exemption applies to charters leasing from commercial realtors.

8

Oklahoma

Oklahoma law provides the charter school incentive fund, which provides up to $50,000 per school to cover costs associated with renovating or remodeling existing buildings and structures for use by a charter school.

It also allows charter schools to access tax-exempt bond financing through the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority.

The law provides that public charter schools have access to the State Public Common School Building Equalization Fund. It provides that charters must use these funds to acquire buildings, grants can only be awarded to charter schools that have secured matching funds for acquiring buildings in an amount of not less than 10% of the total grant amount, and the amount of each grant cannot exceed $4,000,000. From the total amount available to provide grants to public schools, the law requires that charter schools be allocated the greater of 10% of the total amount or the percent of students enrolled in charter schools that are not sponsored by the statewide virtual charter school board as compared to the student enrollment in school districts which have a total assessed property valuation per average daily membership that is equal to or less than 25% of the state total assessed property valuation per average daily membership. It also provides that the state board of education shall make available to eligible charter schools any unused grant funds that remain after the initial allocation to all eligible public school districts and charter schools.

The law provides that charter schools that choose to lease property are eligible to receive current government lease rates.

4

Oregon

Oregon law provides that charter schools are eligible for bonds from the Oregon Facilities Authority.

4

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law provides that the state department of education must calculate an approved reimbursable rental charge for leases of buildings or portion of buildings for charter school use which have been approved by the state secretary of education on or after July 1, 2001. It provides that this charge is the lesser of the annual rent payable under the provision of the approved lease agreement or the product of the enrollment times $160 for elementary schools, $220 for secondary schools, or $270 for area vocational-technical schools.

Pennsylvania law allows charter schools to apply for tax-exempt financing through the State Public School Building Authority, but its bond intercept law does not include them (which would enhance credit ratings for charters).

Pennsylvania law provides that charter school facilities are exempt from public school facility regulations except those pertaining to the health or safety of the pupils.

8

Rhode Island

Rhode Island law provides that a school district may access aid for reimbursement of school housing costs for school district sponsored charter schools, and that charter schools not sponsored by a school district may apply for 30% reimbursement of school housing cost on a need basis.

State law provides that charter schools can access bonding support through the Rhode Island Housing and Education Building Corporation.

8

South Carolina

South Carolina law provides that charter schools are eligible for tax-exempt financing through the South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority.

South Carolina law requires the state department of education to make available, upon request, a list of vacant and unused buildings and vacant and unused portions of buildings that are owned by school districts and that may be suitable for the operation of a charter school. It provides that if a school district declares a building surplus and chooses to sell or lease the building, a charter school's board of directors or a charter committee operating or applying within the school district must be given the first refusal to purchase or lease the building under the same or better terms and conditions as it would be offered to the public.

South Carolina law creates a Charter School Facility Revolving Loan Program. To date, this program has not received any funding.

In a recent national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), South Carolina charter schools were receiving on average $8,396 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $10,104 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $1,708 per pupil - or 16.9% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #18 for information on operational issues).

4

Tennessee

Tennessee law requires the state department of education: to calculate the amount of state funding required under the basic education program for capital outlay as a non-classroom component to be received in a fiscal year by a district in which one or more charter schools operate; to reserve from the sum for such district the funds that constitute the amount due to charter schools operating in the district and not distribute such reserved amount to the district; distribute from the reserved amount directly to each charter school its total per pupil share as determined by its average daily membership (ADM). The law provides that the per pupil share of each charter school must be based on prior year ADM, except that the per-pupil share of any charter school in its first year of operation must be based on the anticipated enrollment in the charter agreement.

The law further provides that a district must include in the local share of funds paid to a charter school the required district match for the state funds generated under the BEP for capital outlay as a non-classroom component that are paid directly to a charter school as per pupil facilities aid.

The amount of the allotment varies by the district in which a charter school is located. Currently, the allotment is between approximately $215 and $315 per pupil.

The law requires an LEA having underutilized and vacant properties to make the properties available for use by charter schools operating in the LEA. The law provides that a charter school may not be required to pay a base rent for the use of any underutilized and vacant property owned or operated by the LEA and may only be required to remit payment for the maintenance and operational costs associated with the occupancy of the property or space.

Furthermore, by October 1 of each year, the law requires any LEA in which one or more charter schools operates to annually catalog all vacant properties owned or operated by the LEA and all vacant space within any educational facility owned or operated by the LEA. The law requires the LEA to submit a comprehensive listing of all such properties and space to the state department of education, which must make an LEA's list available to any charter school operating in the LEA or to any sponsor seeking to establish a public charter school in the LEA.

The law provides that charter schools that have the support of their local taxing authority are eligible to access tax-exempt financing through the Tennessee Local Development Authority.

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Texas

Texas law provides that open-enrollment charter schools may access revenue bonds from the Texas Public Finance Authority Charter School Finance Corporation for the acquisition, construction, repair, or renovation of educational facilities.

Texas law allows open-enrollment charter schools that have an investment grade rating and meet certain financial criteria to apply to have their bonds guaranteed by the Permanent School Fund. The amount of the Permanent School Fund guarantee available to charters is limited to the percentage of the number of students enrolled in open-enrollment charters. Such backing would result in charter bonds being backed by the full, faith, and credit of the state, putting charter schools more on par with school districts and allowing most charters to achieve AAA rating.

In addition, Texas law created a credit enhancement program to provide financial backing to charter school debt. The program would permit a state allocation provided that private philanthropists match the state dollars allocated to the program. However, this program has never been funded and thus has never been activated.

Texas law requires a local school board that intends to sell, lease, or allow use for a purpose other than a district purpose of an unused or underused district facility to give each open-enrollment charter school located wholly or partly within the boundaries of the district the opportunity to make an offer to purchase, lease, or use the facility, as applicable, in response to any terms established by the local school board, before offering the facility for sale or lease or to any other specific entity. The law does not require the local school board to accept an offer made by an open-enrollment charter school.

Texas law provides that a local school district may not require a campus or campus program that has been granted a charter and that is the result of the conversion of the status of an existing school district campus to pay rent for or to purchase a facility in order to use the facility.

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Utah

As part of the local revenue replacement program, Utah law provides an additional annual per-pupil appropriation for charter schools to replace some of the local property tax revenue that traditionally covers maintenance and operation, capital projects, and debt service. The law requires that a minimum of 10% of these monies must be expended for facilities. This facilities dedication was roughly $170 per pupil in Fiscal Year 2012. However, many schools use more than the minimum of 10% of these monies to cover facilities costs.

Utah law provides a charter school revolving loan fund that provides loans to charter schools for the costs of constructing, renovating, and purchasing charter school facilities. There is approximately $6 million in this fund.

Utah law creates the state charter school financing authority for charter facility financing. It provides charter schools with access to tax-exempt bond financing through issuers at the county and municipal levels.

Utah law creates the charter school credit enhancement program to assist qualified charter schools in obtaining favorable financing by providing the state’s moral obligation and providing a means of replenishing a qualifying charter school’s debt service reserve fund. The state appropriated $3 million to this program in FY 2013.

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Virginia

Virginia law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for equitable access to capital funding and facilities. However, Virginia law allows charter schools to access financing through the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority.

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Washington

Statute provides that charter schools are eligible for state matching funds for common school construction.

It also provides that charter schools have the right of first refusal to purchase or lease at or below fair market value a closed public school facility or property or any unused portions located in a school district from which it draws its students if the district decides to sell or lease such facility or property.

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin law provides that charter schools are eligible to receive tax-exempt financing from the Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority and various city redevelopment agencies.

Wisconsin law requires the City of Milwaukee to make decisions about leasing and selling surplus buildings in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). This law also makes the City party to any lease between MPS and a non-instrumentality charter school and provides that the City may negotiate with the charter school to modify the terms of the lease when the lease is modified, extended, or renewed.

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Wyoming

Wyoming law lacks most of the model law’s provisions for equitable access to capital funding and facilities. However, Wyoming law provides that a charter school operating in a district facility is entitled to a proportionate share of its district’s major maintenance funding (under the Wyoming School Facilities Commission’s Major Building & Facility Repair & Replacement Program), based on the gross square footage of the facility. This funding does not include dollars for capital improvements.

The law entitles charter schools to use available school district facilities free of rent, but does not give charter schools a right of first refusal on available public school facilities.

There is nothing in statute regarding the purchasing of buildings for public charter schools. In 2013, however, the state’s budget bill included a $4 million appropriation for the Albany County School District #1 to purchase a commercial building in which a public charter school is located. In effect, it will be a district-owned building purchased solely for the purpose of housing a public charter school. It is the first time that such a step has been taken in the state.

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