May 6, 2020

Once Again, Charters Have Outsized Presence on 2020 "Best" List
Although charter schools make up just over 10 percent of the nation’s high schools, they account for nearly 18 percent of the schools in US News & World Report's top 5 percent and nearly a quarter of schools in the top one percent. Two charter schools—BASIS Chandler in Arizona and Haas Hall Academy Bentonville in Arkansas—claim spots in the nation’s top ten public high schools and 21 charter schools rank in the top 100. And, four charter schools were among 39 schools honored as 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools for their commitment to healthy, safe, and sustainable learning environments.

Congratulations to all the outstanding charter schools demonstrating their outsized impact on the public school sector!
Charter School Innovations' New Appeal to Parents Now
It took weeks for most large districts to begin distance learning, and some still aren’t up and running. But many charter schools had students in online classrooms within days. Charter schools, with their entrepreneurial leaders, have been offering “personalized learning” for years. Charter schools are vastly more likely to offer a combination of online learning and blended learning, where students physically attend school only part of the week. With blended learning potentially a “new norm” until a coronavirus vaccine is available at scale, parents are noticing. For example, Springs Charter Schools, a Southern California network of bricks-and-mortar schools, opened an online school free for anybody with an email address. About 5,000 people signed up. Now more than 2,000 students have applied for 2020-2021, a dramatic increase from previous years. On the other side of the country, wait lists are also up in Washington D.C., where almost 25,000 students are seeking seats than are available. Kristen Taketa, School Districts May Switch to Blended Learning, an Area Dominated by Charter Schools, San Diego Union Tribune, May 3, 2020
Board Denies Five Charter Applications in Pandemic's Name
The Metro Nashville Public Schools board (MNPS) last week denied five charter school applications, citing the need to be fiscally prudent, as COVID-19 could bring deep budget cuts. In reality, the denials are in keeping with MNPS’s trend in recent years of siding against charter schools during contentious debates. In addition to pointing to the need for fiscal belt-tightening, board members said the applications before them didn’t meet the district's expectations. Three of the denied school applications were by KIPP, which is already operating schools in Nashville with good results. The charter school applicants can amend their applications and bring them back before the board. If they are denied again, they can take the matter to the state board of education for consideration. Under legislation pushed by Gov. Bill Lee, a new charter school commission will hear appeals starting in the 2020-2021 school year. Holly Meyer, Metro Nashville School Board Denies Five Charter School Applications, Tennessean, April 20, 2020
What the National Charter Facility Center Wants You to Know
Charter schools are changing their operations and finances as they look to borrow money or to repay existing debt. The Charter School Facility Center at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools hosted a webinar last week featuring a panel discussion with market experts, including underwriters, debt advisors, credit experts, and charter school leaders, about the capital markets’ reaction to the COVID crisis. If you missed it, you can watch a recording of it here

This Year's Theme is "Above & Beyond"
Next week (May 10-16) is National Charter Schools Week. Understandably, COVID-19 is influencing this year’s celebration. The theme, Above and Beyond, was selected to salute the strength and resilience with which America’s charter schools are showing up for students and parents during the crisis. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is asking all of us to join in the celebration by sharing its toolkit as far and wide as possible—and to get our communities involved, too. The toolkit has an instructional webinar, social media graphics and more. It can be found here.
Welcome to Our New Subscribers from the National Charter Schools Conference!
We understand this year’s National Charter Schools Conference in Orlando has been canceled. Since you were a registered attendee, Charter School Investor is being sent to you to help keep you abreast on financial, legislative and regulatory issues affecting charter schools and the charter school investment community.  We publish every other week, and hope you’ll enjoy it! If you wish to unsubscribe from future editions of Charter School Investor, please unsubscribe below. 
School Improvement Partnership sends warm wishes and urges our readers to stay safe and healthy during this taxing time. 
School Improvement Partnership improves transparency and accountability in the charter school bond market. As continuing disclosure agent for more than 40 schools in six states, we enhance the form and content of secondary market information for charter school bond investors. On behalf of such investors, School Improvement Partnership performs comprehensive evaluations of charter school borrowers in transition - both pre-investment and post-investment. Please view our website or call us at 215.854.6322.
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