Recently, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools held their annual conference in Austin, Texas. We recently sat down with Senior Financial Manager Nick Taintor from our Farmington location to get his five takeaways from the panel session he participated in as a presenter at the conference.
With extensive experience in public accounting, Nick enjoys providing accounting services as well as business management and consulting for charter schools. Nick received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Gustavus Adolphus College. He serves as Treasurer for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association and is a member of the Minnesota Society of CPAs.
Here are his five key takeaways from the “Financing a Charter School: Case Studies and Lessons Learned” session where he was a panelist:
- If you are a new school searching for a facility, the key to success is planning! Finding a facility that accommodates the school’s planned growth, working with a good landlord or developer, and securing the optimal financing for the facility are things to consider in the planning process.
- The optimal option to finance a facility. If you have the opportunity to grow into a facility, a great way to finance the facility and growth is to borrow through a bank financing initially and then later to do a tax exempt bond financing once you expanded to the capacity.
- Stress testing the long range budget is very important. Perform this exercise with the school leaders, finance committee and board to ensure they understand the implications if the school were to lose enrollment or funding. Understanding the risks in the “what if” situations is a great exercise which will not only help the school and their leaders, but give the investors confidence that the school has considered these situations.
- Bond ratings may have a positive or negative impact on future facility financings. Bond rating increases (by S&P or Moody’s) will help the investors in the near term as they can sell their bonds for higher yields, and can help the schools if they ever refinance to lower their interest payment or do a new financing through an expansion.
- There is no such thing as a “financing a facility in a box.” There are a multitude of financing a facility from assistance from a developer to direct bank financing to tax exempt financing and many more.
Many resources are available to help charter school leaders to better prepare and understand the various financing requirements and resources that are needed. Have questions? Charter school specialist Nick Taintor is on hand to help you evaluate your options. Start here to get a conversation going.