Case Studies

Case Study #1:
Existing Charter Expansion and Financing

Long Term Single Investor Bond Financing due diligence report for PNC Bank

AES was engaged to complete a thorough pre-financing due diligence visit of an existing charter school interested in bond financing for a permanent facility that allows for expansion and longevity.

AES submitted a final report of findings and recommendations to support the financing and included risk assessment of potential challenges as well as potential solutions or proposals for those challenges. Report included a disclosure of a perceived/potential conflict of interest and identification of a major revenue/budgeting item that actually improved the School’s potential revenue stream for the future.

The final report was a comprehensive narrative that covered each priority for the investment group and included evidential items, photos, multiple forecasts, updated bios of the board members and leadership and conclusion based on evidence.

This financing was ultimately approved, and the project has been successful.

Case Study #2:
New Charter Development and Operations

AES was secured by the Governing Board to develop, open and operate a new K8 charter school in Charlotte. AES worked directly with the Board to write and submit the charter application, coach the Board for the in-person interviews with the authorizer and secure the approval. During the course of the application cycle, AES was able to secure letters of interest for financing the project and identified an appropriate parcel of land which was put under contract with a due diligence clause. The inclusion of site with financing greatly improved the value of the application and this application was approved in its first submission.

Immediately upon approval, AES worked directly with the investor groups to secure long term bond financing to build the permanent facility for this school. AES served as the credit enhancement for this project and has long term oversight responsibilities of this school. AES has subordinated its fees under the primary investor debt service which provided the school a very favorable rate and the ability to effectuate the school mission on day 1 of year 1. This was the first standalone charter school to open in NC with bond financing and was one of the most successful openings in a saturated and competitive market. This school has continued to be successful in its second year of operations and increased its initial enrollment by 48%
during COVID when most schools have seen rapid declining enrollment.

Case Study #3:
Distressed Charter Renewal prior to Facility Acquisition

AES was engaged by a school to assist with an upcoming charter renewal. This school had been an underperforming and under enrolled school during its first charter term. AES conducted an onsite visit to assess program and its stakeholders, conducted comparative studies against local district and charter schools and felt a case for renewal could be made if it included its own corrective action plan and a strategic plan for long term improvement. 

Over the course of two months, AES wrote the charter renewal and continued to work with the leadership team, Board treasurer and community to clarify the mission of the school and
implement an academic improvement plan. Most importantly, AES revised the current budget and made recommendations to improve the fiscal stability of the school and created
a debt service schedule that improved the School’s net position. AES also created a comprehensive marketing campaign to increase community engagement and applications.

This school demonstrated academic improvement and increased enrollment during the course of its renewal year and with coaching the School successfully received a charter term renewal and is now a candidate to transition to a permanent facility.

Case Study #4: Voyager Academy
New Series 2020 Taxable Bond Financing Transaction Overview

On March 2nd, 2020, Voyager Academy closed on the first ever public offering of a 30-year taxable charter school bond in the municipal market at a true interest cost of 4.37%. This investment grade issuance allowed the school to refund the outstanding 2012 and 2014 bonds, and payoff an existing bank note, saving the school approximately $235,000 a year!
D.A. Davidson & Co., as bond underwriter has priced bonds for Voyager Academy three times since 2012, including this past January 2020. Voyager Academy is a true success story when it comes to a charter school planning their long term financing strategy alongside their school’s growth.
Voyager Academy can claim their spot among only four other investment grade charter schools in the state of North Carolina, and as the only one in Durham.

Overview of Voyager’s facility financing history:

  • 2007 New Market Tax Credit: initial financing for the
    middle school facility
  • Developer Lease Financing: finance the construction
    of the high school and elementary school facilities
  • 2012 Non-Rated Bond Financing: acquisition of the
    elementary and high school facilities
  • 2014 “BB+” Rated Bond Financing:
    refinance/unwind middle school facility loan
  • 2019 Bank Note Financing: finance the athletic
    complex after receiving investment grade credit rating
  • 2020 Investment Grade Taxable Bond Financing:
    refinance all outstanding debt for annual cash flow
    savings of $235,000

“Voyager Academy took on our first bond financing nearly eight years ago. As the first
investment grade rated charter school in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, Voyager has
met the challenge with unprecedented success. This financing will save Voyager
Academy more than $6MM over the next 23 years, ensuring our ability to continue
achieving great things by putting our students first.”

Jennifer Lucas, Managing Director

Case Study #5: Ridgeview Charter School
Parents in Gaston County embrace School-choice

In 2019, Ridgeview Charter School opened its doors to Gaston County, fulfilling the needs of families and children in the Community of Gastonia for School-Choice when selecting a K-8 school in the local area. 

 Charter schools are public schools that operate under the guidance of their independent board rather than the county’s school board but are funded with Public funds earmarked for Education. Charter Schools follow the guidelines of the Department of Education and can enroll students from any county.

 Ridgeview Charter School started its operation with 130 students enrolled for the 2019-2020 school year; the school is located inside a local church, and Ridgeview Charter School only offered grades K to 4. As many new schools learn quickly, the costs associated with systems and infrastructure, including furnishings and books, were significant, and the school needed to grow as fast as possible. 

Under the board’s direction, the founding Principal and Vice-Principal ( Reshal Williams and D Sanders) reached out to the community and met the challenges ahead putting students first and ensuring they had the tools they needed to get the job done.

In less than a year, the community of Gastonia came through and embraced School-Choice, and Ridgeview Charter School had a student enrollment growth of over 100 percent, for the 2021-22 school year and a waiting list to match. Mrs.Williams, Sanders, and the board recognized a need for School-Choice alternatives in Gaston County, and the community recognized them for it.

 Ridgeview’s curriculum is based on the International Primary Curriculum, which is used around the world and provides opportunities for global learning, opening the mind to worlds beyond while teaching students real-life skills that they will need to face the world of tomorrow. They presently offer grades K-7 and provide students and their families free bus transportation, a one on one student technology ratio, a full gymnasium, lunch program, and much more www.ridgeviewcharterschool.org 

Case Study #6: Carbon Valley Academy
Bringing the benefits of school choice to Weld's County​

Carbon Valley Academy is a K-8, tuition-free, charter school located at 4040 Coriolis Way, Frederick, Colorado,(https://www.carbonvalleyacademy.org/) The school is located in Weld’s County, considered a fringe rural setting located approximately 35 miles south of Denver Colorado. Carbon Valley Academy has been bringing the benefits of school choice to students and parents in the area

As a Charter school, Carbon Valley Academy is committed to providing top-quality education to its students and families, offering at its core a Science/Math Curricula with a STEAM lab curriculum that includes hands-on activities and emphasizes the application of scientific concepts as we experience them in our daily lives. In addition to Science and Math. Carbon Valley also recognizes the importance of a well-rounded education and has chosen to include Spanish as its international language option for all students in all grade levels. 

Learning is not only about remembering “what” but also about the “how” at CVA all students are taught basic behavioral traits such as “Responsibility, Respect, Patriotism, Courage, Honesty, Work ethic, Friendship, Perseverance, and Compassion”. 

In 2020 following a national search for a qualified and experienced candidate to lead the school the school’s Board of Directors hired Michelle Saller to lead the team to greatness. 

Mrs. Seller immediately began interviewing and selecting her new support staff and a team of experts in education and management. Soon after she hired new experienced and certified teachers, re-evaluating the curriculum and emphasizing important standards of quality in education and implementing new services like free bus service for all students to and from school at no cost to parents, painting classrooms, changing carpets, and redistributing classes and common areas in the school to make it more efficient for the students and teachers involved. 

Carbon Valley also began promoting its new image to parents in the area incorporating 80 new students for the 2021-22 school year during the last three months of summer and they are getting ready for more growth and expansion for the 2022-23 school year.

The Board, principal Saller the staff at CVA and industry experts such as Justin Mathews and Jennifer Lucas of Alliance Education Services (https://allianceedservices.org) and the team at Educare Solutions (https://educaresolutions.org) all have been working day and night and they have done an incredible job, but the most important achievement of all is the creation of a collaborative community made of parents teachers and administrators dedicated to, empowering students to grow through authentic, engaging, and inquisitive learning experiences that make this school open to great ideas dedicated to making a difference in this small but intimate community 

To apply to Carbon Valley Academy go to https://pub.educare.app/applications/newapp?id=32  or visit their website at https://www.carbonvalleyacademy.org  to learn more! To find out more about this press release please visit https://www.educaresolutions.org