Today charter school operators learned the check's NOT in the mail. Many schools were expecting charter school capital construction checks, but today learned the money is being held by the Joint Budget Committee due to the state's budget deficit.
This fund of capital construction money specifically for charter schools was created after the passage of Amendment 23 under the direction of then-Gov. Bill Owens, who was also an original sponsor of the Charter Schools Act back in 1993. Five million dollars of Amendment 23 funds were set aside for charter school capital construction. The fund is distributed on a qualifying per student basis. In 2001 the per student amount was over $300. Last year the amount fell to an all-time low of about $120.
Charter schools use these designated funds to pay their bond payments. For several schools, not receiving the funds this year will affect their bond rating and future financing.
Last year the Colorado League of Charter Schools released a facilities report that noted several inequities for charter schools. Charter schools spend anywhere from 15% to 33% of their operating funds on facility costs. Unlike districts, charters do not have access to the taxpayer for facility bonds.