2010 National Charter School Facilities Institute

Date: June 27, 2010

Chicago, IL

The 2010 Charter School Facilities Institute in Chicago, hosted by the National Charter School Resource Center, included sessions guided by top experts who covered a wide range of issues, from the basics of assessing needs to politics and financing.

Link to pre-recorded webinars and related resources for each of the sessions listed below.

Transforming Public Education Through Choice and Innovation

Keynote presenter: Scott Pearson, Associate Assistant Deputy Secretary; Acting Director, Charter Schools Program, U.S. Department of Education

Status of Facilities Financing Nationwide

Presenters: Reena Bhatia, Elise Balboni, and Kathryn Olsen, Local Initiatives Support Corporation

Educational Facilities Planning
Presenter: Mary Filardo, 21st Century School Fund
Learn how to assess your facilities needs, align them with your educational vision, conduct an initial feasibility study, and develop short- and long-term educational facilities plans.

Short-Term Options
Presenter: Dan Alexander, Noble Network of Charter Schools
Explore a variety of options for securing short-term space for your new charter school, assess the alternatives, and then determine what you need and what you can afford.

Financing 101
Presenter: Annie Donovan, NCB Capital Impact
Explore options for financing charter school facilities by learning more about loan types, the loan process, the five “Cs,” and challenges for underwriting charters.

Presenter: Suzanne Keech, Studley Inc.
Find out more about the predevelopment process (including how to decide whether to own or lease), build a team of professionals, select a site, and conduct a feasibility analysis.

Construction Planning and Management
Presenter: Tanya Vartivarian, IFF
Delve into the construction planning and management process to better understand the roles and responsibilities of team members, the preparation and evaluation of bids, and what to expect during different phases of construction projects. Vist the IFF charter page for more information.

Mixed-Use Facilities
Presenter: David Umansky and Rachel Bluestein, Civic Builders
Learn more about opportunities for charter schools to share space with community organizations or low-income housing units to both improve educational options for students and contribute to the revitalization of underserved communities.

Politics and Fundraising
Presenter: Allison Fansler, KIPP DC
Learn more about fundraising sources, generating support from key stakeholders, and best practices to transform your vision of your charter school facility into a reality.

Indicators for Quality Loans 
Presenters: Jane Ellis, director of charter school lending at Self Help
Jim Ford, director of charter school programs at Raza Development Fund
Brian Prater, director of California lending and strategic opportunities at Low Income Investment Fund

These veterans of charter school lending discussed the dos and don’ts of borrowing money for facilities. They emphasized that charter school operators should develop and maintain strong relationships with their lenders and be transparent with their finances and the schools performance. And application documents should be filed on time, complete and well presented, especially since competition for credit is so intense.