School district: Answers to charter school funding
Vail CO, Colorado
On Wednesday, Sept. 26, the Eagle County Charter Academy Board Members Craig Ferraro and Sarah Hymes presented a proposal to the Eagle County Schools Board of Education requesting $3 million for a new community building at their current site.
With a majority vote of 4 to 3, the Board of Education moved to approve the funding for the charter school’s community building in the amount of $2.5 million. After the decision was made, district staff recommended this funding come through the purchase of certificates of participation, which function as loans.
Since the vote last week, we have received several inquiries on behalf of the charter staff, parents and community members. Please refer to the following questions and answers for more information on this topic.
A: It is important to point out that initial funding for the charter school’s community building will not come from bond funds or the district’s general reserve funds. However, future payments on the loan will be financed from the district’s general fund budget.
A: Certificates of participation are tax-exempt government securities used to raise funds in order to improve and construct buildings or purchase equipment. Certificates of participation are specifically used to finance capital costs related to construction or acquisition and may not be used to finance ongoing operating costs. They are sold to investors who receive payments, which include interest income that is exempt from federal and state income tax. If the Board of Education decides to use the certificates to finance the charter school project, an investor will buy those certificates and Eagle County Schools will pay a lease type of payment to the investor with money from the general fund or the general fund reserve. No bond money will be used to pay for the improvements at the charter school.
For more information on this question, please feel free to contact the Chief Financial Officer Phil Onofrio at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 328-2747.
A: The Eagle County Charter Academy is a district charter school that has been operating as a part of Eagle County Schools’ public school system for the last 12 years. By law, the school district is required to allocate per-pupil revenue to the charter school depending on how many students they have.
The Eagle County Charter Academy is a school in need of facility repairs, made evident in the current building, which is currently not meeting fire safety codes. This money will enable the school to create an adequate facility for their needs.
A: The Eagle County Charter Academy has not received any monies from the bond our community passed up until now, nor will it in the future, as it was not included in the original bond question. The charter school pays Eagle County Schools for their usage of technology services such as Power School and First Class.
In addition, the charter academy has not received any technology upgrades at the expense of bond money. Any and all upgrades they have undergone over time have been at their own expense.
For additional information or further clarification on this issue, please do not hesitate to contact the district office or the Eagle County Schools Board of Education members. All contact information can be found on our Web site at http://www.eagleschools.net.