The federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) supports the creation of new schools and the replication of charter schools that are producing results. The CSP needs additional funding to continue to meet parental demand. The National Alliance also works to advocated for other sources of funding for charter schools such as the New Market Tax Credits which are integral for investments in charter school facilities.
School Building (Facilities) Equity
Access to public school (buildings) facilities is perhaps the single largest impediment to the growth of the sector. Despite being public schools, charter schools are not able to access public school buildings and the same financing tools to build schools as district operated schools.
Several issues may contribute to these challenges, including limited funding, expensive private leases, and school districts obstructing their ability to acquire available campus space. As a result, charter schools are forced to expend a disproportionate amount of their resources and time to address ongoing facilities challenges.
Charter schools struggle to obtain school sites that fit all of their students’ needs. They look for sites that are in the right location, have enough classrooms, and provide access to important non-classroom space, like lunchrooms, auditoriums, and gyms. Once they have found a school site that meets their needs, they often struggle with facilities payments. Charter schools must pay their rent or mortgage costs directly out of their operating budgets, whereas traditional district schools do not incur these same costs in their general funds. Every dollar that a charter school spends on facilities is a dollar that isn't going directly to their educational program.
The National Alliance recognizes that facilities are an essential component to the success of a charter school, and we advocate for charter schools to secure and retain long term, high-quality, affordable school space. Through aggressive advocacy, we continue to pursue the mission of ensuring that charter schools have access to facility financing that enable them to meet their current and future educational programs.
Read the results of comprehensive statewide facilities studies, conducted by the National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC), The Charter School Facilities Initiative (developed and managed by the Colorado League of Charter Schools), the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (Alliance) and various Charter Support Organizations. Learn more about the initiative and other facilities related resources.