Charter Schools in Opportunity Zones Master Class

A group of children running toward the school door.

Introduction

This master class provides information on how charter schools can use Opportunity Zone (OZ) funding as part of their facilities financing, and how investors and philanthropists can work with charter schools in OZs to enhance community development. 

The following audiences will find this master class helpful: 

  • charter school leaders seeking information on OZs, 
  • investors and finance experts familiar with charter school financing but not OZs, and  
  • investors, developers, and philanthropists learning about charter school financing. 

Within each of the three master class modules you will find informational videos, resources, and tools. You may complete the modules in any order; however, module three builds on information presented in the first two modules. 

Module 1: The Nuts and Bolts of Charter School Finance

Module 2: Fundamentals of Opportunity Zone Investing

Module 3: Charter Schools and Opportunity Zones - Working Together for Community Development


Module 1: The Nuts and Bolts of Charter School Finance

Presenters: Mark Medema, Charter School Facility Center at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools; Laura Kozel, Rocketship Education; Kahlmus Eatman, Pacific Charter School Development; and David Umansky, Civic Builders  

This module helps people new to the charter school field understand the basic characteristics of charter schools, how charter schools can be used as investments, and the political and financial risks associated with the life cycle of charter school development projects. In addition, users learn terminology specific to charter school financing and understand how charter school finance works in practice.

To enhance your learning during this experience, please download and print briefs on The Business of Charter Schools and Introduction to Opportunity Zones as well as the Module 1 Summary and Module 1 Toolkit. These materials are also available under “Handouts” in the top right corner of this webpage. 

What is a Charter School?

Learn about the history of charter schools.

The Charter School Authorization Process

Learn about who can authorize charters, how the process works, and how the process may or may not be subject to political influence.

Charter School Policy

Learn about how charter school policies vary across states.

Charter School Development

Learn about the charter school development cycle and how facility needs change as the school grows.

Charter School Finance

Learn about how charter schools typically finance their facilities.

Charter School Challenges

Learn about challenges charter schools currently face, particularly with their facilities, and how that context is relevant to Opportunity Zone investors.

Now that you have completed Module 1, you may move on to Module 2: Fundamentals of Opportunity Zone Investing or Module 3: Charter Schools and Opportunity Zones - Working Together for Community Development.


Module 2: Fundamentals of Opportunity Zone Investing

Presenters: Melanie Audette, Mission Investors Exchange; Julia Shin, Enterprise Community Partners; Nick Silbergeld, Calvert Impact Capital; and Rachel Reilly, Economic Innovation Group 

This module helps people, particularly those working in or with charter schools, who are new to Opportunity Zone (OZ) investing understand how OZs work, the benefits of OZs, and how OZ funding can be paired with other incentives. Users also learn OZ and impact investment terminology and how OZs have been used for community development in areas such as affordable housing.

To enhance your learning during this experience, please download and print the Introduction to Charter School Finance brief as well as the Module 2 Summary and Module 2 Toolkit, which are also available under “Handouts” in the top right corner of this webpage. 

What is Impact Investing?

Learn the basics of impact investing, including what it is, the types of investors, and some of the investment tools typically used.

Opportunity Zone Basics: Part 1

Learn the tax benefits of OZs, how OZ investing is aligned with impact investing, and what the current OZ investment market looks like.

Opportunity Zone Basics: Part 2

Learn how OZs were designated, who can invest in OZs, and how Qualified Opportunity Funds are established.

Opportunity Zone Deal Structures

Learn who is typically involved in an OZ deal and what a sample deal looks like.

Now that you have completed Module 2, you may move on to Module 3: Charter Schools and Opportunity Zones - Working Together for Community Development. For more information on charter school finance, return to Module 1: The Nuts and Bolts of Charter School Finance.


Module 3: Charter Schools and Opportunity Zones - Working Together for Community Development 

Presenters: John Bailey, American Enterprise Institute; Rachel Reilly, Economic Innovation Group; and Eva Schweitzer, Local Initiatives Support Corporation 

This module brings together information covered in the first two modules to establish a framework for how Opportunity Zones (OZs) and charter schools can work together to further impact investors’ community development goals. In addition, tools help users determine whether an OZ investment is right for their situation or project.

To enhance your learning during this experience, please download and print the Combining Opportunity Zones in Charter School Financing brief as well as the Module 3 Summary and Module 3 Toolkit. The documents are also available under “Handouts” in the top right corner of this webpage. 

Charter Schools, Community Development, and Opportunity Zones

Learn how charter schools are aligned with the community development goals of impact investors and OZs.

Considerations for using Opportunity Zone Financing in Charter School Facility Projects

Learn about an existing OZ project that includes a charter school and things charter schools should consider when deciding whether to pursue OZ financing for their project.

Opportunity Zones Funding Versus Traditional Charter School Funding

Learn how charter schools should weigh OZ funding against their traditional funding sources.

What Would a Charter School Facility Project with Opportunity Zone Financing Look Like?

Learn how OZ financing could support charter school facility projects, considerations for schools when looking for an investor, and what a potential deal structure could look like.

Facilitating Opportunity Zone Investments in Charter School Facility Projects

Learn what can be done to facilitate OZ investments in charter school facility projects.

Congratulations! You have completed the final module. For more information on charter school finance, return to Module 1: The Nuts and Bolts of Charter School Finance; for more information on OZ investing, return to Module 2: Fundamentals of Opportunity Zone Investing.