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In starting a new charter school, finding space to house the school is often one of school founders’ biggest challenges. But this year, for the first time, Ohio lawmakers set aside money for charter schools to use on facilities.
Charter school advocates say the new money will help charter schools, but still falls short of what charter schools would like.
“It’s not nearly enough, but at least it’s a step in the right direction,” Stephanie Klupinski of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools told us earlier this month.
Education Week reports:
Unlike regular public school systems, which can seek taxpayer-backed bonds for school construction and renovation, many charter schools have no mechanism in place to offset their facilities costs. And while some of the larger charter networks have more experience and financial track records to fall back on, startup charters are hit particularly hard when seeking loans and other financial assistance because of their lack of a financial history, experts on the sector say.
In addition, charters’ contracts with their authorizers tend to range from three to five years, while loans are typically paid back over several decades, making banks wary of lending to the schools for fear that their contracts will not be renewed.
Under the new state budget, Ohio charter schools will get about $100 per student for facilities.