Frequently Asked Questions

Common Charter School Questions and Concerns

One reason partnerships with The Charter School Fund have been so successful is that we effectively communicate with our charter schools. Below are some of the common concerns we often hear from our clients. If we can address additional questions for you, please contact us today.

Planning your charter school development

Economy and financing

Planning for the future

Planning your charter school development

We know what we want—but does the developer “get it?”

A good developer will look at your school objectives on many levels: curriculum focus, school philosophy, student and staff requirements, aesthetic and social value to the community, budget realities, and more.

At The Charter School Fund, we don’t believe in “cookie cutter” schools. During our charter school assessment process, we get to know your organization and what is important to you and to the parents who will support your school. It’s our job to discover key priorities and make them part of the development. This may include planning for specific technology needs, school building architecture and style, sustainability efforts, athletic facilities, and much more.

How do we really know what we can and can’t afford?

Being realistic about budgets is essential to a successful charter school - and charter schools are subject to state funding decisions that may be beyond their control. To help ensure responsible decision-making, The Charter School Fund develops a financial model for each development that takes into account a variety of budget factors. Working backwards from what revenue various enrollments can generate, we conservatively plan recommendations based on your state’s historical funding data. Our recommendations work to fit your program requirements while factoring in areas of flux in case of potential funding decreases.

What is a realistic timeline to develop a charter school?

The realistic response is that there is no hard-and-fast answer - and you should beware of developers that tell you differently. Approval processes vary tremendously among cities and counties; these are factors you often can’t control.

However, The Charter School Fund is very proud of our record of timely developments. We understand that hitting a charter school’s open date is crucial. And because of our experience working closely with government officials and our familiarity with school-specific real estate, we are often able to take a school start-to-finish faster than other developers.

Read what schools say about our abilities to deliver on time.

Is it wise to select a developer that’s not located in the same state as our charter school?

When selecting a developer, it’s important to keep three things in mind: 1) experience with charter schools, 2) knowledge of your local area and government, and 3) impact on your community.

The Charter School Fund specializes in school development alone, so we are thoroughly familiar with the needs, concerns, and unique circumstances of charter schools. Our affiliation with Hawkins Companies gives us national reach to charter school real estate opportunities, municipal contacts, and contractors throughout the United States. In fact, most of the schools we have developed are located outside our home state. And because we are a specialized developer, we are organized to take our operations to other communities. We have in place best practices that evaluate and select top contractors and partners who will not only perform to expectations, their work is a positive boost to your local economy.

Economy and financing

Can we get the charter school financing we need?

Unfortunately, some charter schools have begun a project with a developer only to learn that company can’t follow through on the facility financing they’ve promised. Because we are selective and choose to work with high-performing schools, The Charter School Fund has been able to obtain financing for 100% of our projects. Even during difficult economic periods and with decreased state funding, The Charter School Fund has maintained an exceptional financial track record.

We’ve seen companies fold before a school is completed. How do we know a developer will be around long term?

It’s essential to examine a developer’s scope of experience, history of timely completions, and ability to perform in any economic environment. The Charter School Fund has a history of being able to source funding and execute on developments while many others have not. Plus, our alignment with the Hawkins Companies brings a solid, 30-year history of successful projects.

Read what schools say about their financing experiences with us.

Planning for the future

How do we ensure our new charter school gets up and running? How do we grow over time?

Working with The Charter School Fund is a true collaboration, and we define our success by that of our partner schools. When we choose an operator to work with, we feel confident in their ability to excel; we have worked closely with them to ensure plans are in line with the community, demographics, expansion potential, government atmosphere, and more. Schools appreciate the insight our experience brings to suggestions and recommendations. In addition, it is part of our planning process to design practical phases that anticipate future growth and related needs of our charter schools.

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