Schoolhouse Finance LLC, part of the Imagine Schools family, provides long-term real estate financing for many of the school buildings that are home to Imagine’s public charter schools across the country.
Government-operated schools do not pay for their buildings out of their routine operating funds, but rather get separate and additional funding for buildings and capital costs. Most charter schools, however, receive NO additional or directed funds for facilities, so we must use the per student allocation (equivalent to operating funds only) received at each school to pay for everything: textbooks, teachers, administration, and buildings. Our charter schools deliver a high quality education for less money than is being spent on government-operated schools.
We believe that a high quality school building is an important ingredient in fulfilling our mission to help parents educate their children. Our school buildings provide safety, stability, a long-term presence, and a high-quality learning environment for children. New charter school boards often find it very difficult to secure facilities because the non-profit entity lacks credit history or credit worthiness.
Just as government-operated schools use bonds to finance schools, Imagine Schools (through Schoolhouse Finance) uses its credit to provide the financial backing for long-term leases and building purchases. Each school’s lease rate is based on the actual costs to purchase, construct or renovate the school building and the school-yard.
Schoolhouse Finance generally leases the buildings for at least 15-25 years in order to provide a long-term, stable location. The individual school then sub-leases the building from Schoolhouse Finance only for the period that its individual charter is valid (usually 3-5 years). Therefore, the school is not taking on a bigger or longer term obligation than it can handle, and the financial burden of securing a stable, long-term and high quality building is shouldered by Schoolhouse Finance.