Dollars And Sense II

This report deepens the argument for small schools in three important ways. First, analysis of more than three thousand construction projects shows that smaller schools are no more expensive to build than much larger schools. Second, analysis of the budgets of 25 good small schools throughout the United States demonstrates that on average they spend less per student on educational program, maintenance and operations than the per-pupil expenditure in their districts, yet they achieve results that are equal to or better than schools in the same area. Third, these schools offer innovative and effective educational programs, facilities, and strategies for cost effectiveness that can serve as models and inspiration to people interested in cost-effective good small schools. A complete Appendix containing contact information, budgets, test scores, and references follows the text.
Dollars And Sense II (pdf)


Charter School Capital Access Program (CCAP)

NCB Development Corporation and The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) have partnered to form the Charter School Capital Access Program (CCAP) to finance charter school facilities. CCAP is funded in part through a demonstration grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Education. CCAP is targeting charter schools in the mid-Atlantic region that enroll a predominantly low-income population or are located in predominantly low-income communities.  Potential borrowers must be located in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia or Washington, DC. Loan funds are available to finance charter school facilities, including acquisition, renovation, construction and leasehold improvements. CCAP does not make loans for working capital or equipment. Generally, the minimum loan amount is $500,000 and the maximum loan amount is $3,000,000. CCAP will consider participating in or syndicating a larger loan on a case-by-case basis.

NCBDC, along with the Charter Friends National Network, also is a recipient of a Department of Education technical assistance grant and is working with the Florida Consortium of Charter Schools and the Midwest Charter Facilities Coalition on a pilot program to provide professional support to charter schools seeking to develop new facilities.

Who is eligible to apply for a CCAP loan? Eligible borrowers include charter schools, and other non-profits and for-profit organizations that will utilize the loan funds to finance facilities for use as a charter school. The majority of the students enrolled at the charter school seeking CCAP funds should qualify for
free or reduced-price lunch per Title I guidelines. CCAP is for loans only. However, CCAP strives to provide loans at the lowest rates possible, contingent on market conditions.

To discuss a proposed project or obtain additional information:
- in MD, NY, VA or DC, contact Eva Rainer, 202-336-7690
- in PA, NJ or DE, contact Sara Vernon Sterman, 215-574-5852


The Charter School Facility Finance Landscape

Conducted by LISC’s Educational Facilities Financing Center (EFFC), this national mapping survey of private nonprofit and public providers of funding for charter school facilities is the first comprehensive listing of its kind. Based on extensive research and interviews, the survey includes descriptions of financing products and geographic markets for active private nonprofit providers, public-private partnerships, and public initiatives. The report also includes all available Web sites and statutory references, with active links in the electronic version.

Mapping Survey (pdf)


Dollars & Sense: The Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools

Barbara Kent Lawrence, Steven Bingler, Barbara M. Diamond, Bobbie Hill,
Jerry Hoffman, Craig B. Howley, Stacy Mitchell, David Rudolph, and Elliot Washor, 2002

This policy brief summarizes research on the educational and social benefits of small schools and the negative effects of large schools on students, teachers, and members of the community, as well as the “diseconomies of scale” inherent in large schools. As the research shows, measuring the cost of education by graduates, rather than by all students who go through the system, suggests that small schools are a wise investment. In addition, this report answers two fundamental questions: can small schools be built cost effectively, and has anyone done so?
Dollars and Sense (pdf)


The Effects of Size of Student Body on School Costs and
Performance in New York City High Schools

Leanna Stiefel, Patrice Iatarola, Norm Fruchter, and Robert Berne, 1998
This study found small schools to be a better investment when the cost of dropouts is considered. Researchers studied school-level data on budget expenditures, student characteristics, and performance for over 130 of the city's secondary schools. They found that although small high schools have higher costs per student, once the higher graduation rates and lower dropout rates are factored in, the small schools have the lowest cost per graduate in the entire New York City system.
Cost Per Graduate (pdf)


NCB Capital Impact

As a nonprofit organization and a certified Community Development Financial Institution with a national presence, NCB Capital Impact improves access to high-quality health and elder care, healthy foods, housing, and education in low-income communities across the country. Their impact is built on a diverse and extensive network of alliances, our depth of experience, and a cooperative approach. They partner with public and private organizations that are like-minded in mission, and dedicated to long-term success.

Education: We create access to capital with a focus on innovation and leadership in order to foster the development of accessible, high-quality educational facilities. We will facilitate the development of environmental sustainability within this market. Our disbursement goal for education facilities for 2010-12 is $275 million nationwide.


Qualified Public Education Facilities (QPEF)

QPEFs are a potential funding mechanism for both charters and public schools. This funding mechanism allows state or federal agencies to enter into a public-private partnership with a for-profit organization, under which the for-profit agrees to construct, rehabilitate, refurbish or equip a public school facility. Such a partnership would usually be under a lease agreement. At the end of its term, ownership is to be transferred to the public school for no additional consideration.

The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 changed Section 142 of the Internal Revenue Code to allow states to issue tax-exempt bonds for qualified public educational facilities. Read more here.

Download New Tax Law Boosts School Construction with Public-Private Partnerships, an article published by The Heritage Foundation that outlines how QPEFs can potentially offer more timely school construction, lower construction costs an increased community use

QPEF Article (pdf)


Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB)

QZAB funds can be used for school renovation or repair projects, purchasing equipment, developing curricula, and/or training school personnel. The government pays the interest on the bonds - potentially paying up to 50 percent of the construction costs. (This is a tax credit bonds program, not a grant program.)

To be eligible, schools must: 1) be in an enterprise or empowerment zone or expect to have at least 35% of students on free or reduced lunch; 2) receive at least ten percent of the value of the money borrowed from their business in the form of cash, goods, services, internships or field trips that provide educational opportunities to students.

Read the QZAB Frequently Asked Questions web page prepared by the U.S. Department of Education.

Download the U.S. Department of Education QZAB handbook, Fixing Our Schools Now!

QZAB Handbook (pdf)

Download Early Returns: Tax Credit Bonds and School Construction, an article in which Sara Mead of the Progressive Policy Institute analyzes the results of QZABs to date in order to inform policymakers, advance the debate over federal school construction aid, and provide more effective support for schools and states in need.

QZAB (pdf)

Request a draft copy of How to Allocate and Manage a State’s Qualified Zone Academy Bond Program.


USDA's Rural Housing Service

The Community Facilities Program provides a flexible financing program for rural America that is versatile and capable of financing a wide variety of projects, including schools and community centers. To be eligible, facilities must be located in communities of less than 20,000. Follow the link to Public Bodies Opportunities and then click on Community Facilities or link directly to: %20Facilities%20Direct%20Loan?