The Charter School Facilities Initiative utilizes collected data to collaborate with national stakeholders on efforts to improve charter public school facilities policy. Specifically, policy related to adequate and equitable charter public school access to facilities as well as access to local and state sources of funding for facilities.
CSFI also provides data and policy analysis to local charter support organizations to assist these organizations in their efforts to drive state wide policy changes.
Below are some examples of how the CSFI has improved policy to date.
Has consistently used in the data gathered via the Charter School Facilities Initiative to highlight the facilities challenges faced by charter public schools. In 2014, the facilities data was used to make a case for increased funding for the Charter School Capital Construction Fund (state grant funding for charter school facilities). This fund was increased from $5 million annually to $18 million annually. In addition, the state’s moral obligation program which allows eligible charters to use the state’s credit rating to secure facilities had its cap raised to $500 million, marking the first raise in this cap in over eight years. Further, the data has been used at a local level to encourage districts to share existing facilities and local tax revenue to support charter public school facilities.
In 2013, data from the facilities initiative in Idaho helped pass legislation that provides up to $1.4 million to the 40 charter public schools operating across the state, to help cover building and maintenance costs.
Thanks to data from the facilities initiative, the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency was awarded $2,671,388 by the U.S. Department of Education to issue guarantees on behalf of charter public schools to guarantee a portion of a loan or bond made to a charter public school to improve its school facility.
Data from the facilities initiative in New Jersey helped create $125 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs) to support the construction, expansion or enhancement of charter public schools in the state.
The charter facilities initiative had a direct impact in South Carolina. It resulted in the passage of the Charter Facility Tax Bill, which exempts charter public schools from all state or local taxes, except sales tax, on both owned and leased facilities. In addition, the state created a revolving loan fund for charter public schools.
Texas and New York
Facilities initiative data in Texas and New York have been used in litigation in legal proceedings related to charter public school access to equitable facilities.