The Office of Public Charter School Financing and Support (OPCSFS) has a range of financial tools to help public charter schools meet facility needs. The majority of OPCSFS products and support is in the form of “gap financing” for public charter school facility projects which are primarily supported by leveraging the facilities allowance to secure private financing and other sources. The OPCSFS offers the following products to provide the supplemental capital that may be necessary to allow public charter schools to secure appropriate facilities through new construction, acquisition and/or rehabilitation and thus deliver a rigorous and rich education to their students:
- Credit Enhancement Revolving Fund: The Credit Enhancement (CE) Revolving Fund provides enhanced credit, lease guarantees and access to financial assistance to eligible public charter schools for the acquisition, renovation and/or construction of school facilities.
- Direct Loan Revolving Fund: The Direct Loan (DL) program was funded initially by the District of Columbia 2003 Appropriations Act to structure and provide loans to District of Columbia public charter schools for the purpose of construction, acquisition, renovation and /or maintenance of public charter school facilities.
OPCSFS helps finance public charter school facility projects that:
- Create appropriate, safe and economically efficient environments for the provision of high-quality public education
- Provide “gap financing” for public charter school facility projects which are primarily supported by leveraging the facilities allowance to secure private financing and/or other financing sources
- Improve the District’s education outcomes by financing the development and expansion of high-quality public charter school facilities through the construction and/or renovation of:
- Former District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) occupied by public charter schools
- “Commercial market” facilities to be occupied by public charter schools in the District of Columbia
As of May 2021, OSSE has disbursed more than $103 million through the Direct Loan Revolving Fund and Credit Enhancement Revolving Fund to more than 45 public charter schools leveraging more than $492 million in additional financing since inception. Specifically, the Credit Enhancement Revolving Fund has provided more than $36 million of support to 41 public charter schools leveraging more than $365 million in additional funding for school facilities and the Direct Loan Revolving Fund has disbursed more than $67 million to 49 public charter schools leveraging more than $492 million in additional funding for school facilities.
As of May 2021, the available Direct Loan Revolving Fund balance was $28.3 million, of which more than $22 million was outstanding in direct loans. As of March 2021, the Credit Enhancement Revolving Fund had available $29.6 million in credit enhancements, of which more than $8 million was outstanding.
Examples of transactions that the OPCSFS recently facilitated include:
- A $2 million direct loan to support the renovation and opening of a new school site for LEARN DC on the Joint Base Anacostia Bolling (JBAB) campus. The total project cost for Phase I renovations is $2.8 million.
- A $300,000 direct loan to fund renovations for the Lee Montessori Public Charter School at both its Brookland and East Campus on R Street SE, allowing the school to serve an additional 110 students and increase total square footage by 2,000 square feet.
- A $2 million direct loan to fund the renovation of an existing building located at 33-55 Riggs Road NE. This funding helped to leverage an additional $29 million in additional financing. This renovation will add 28,000 square feet to the building that will support an additional 234 student seats.