The Education Innovator #30
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The Education Innovator
 September 23, 2003 • Number 30
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What's inside...
Massachusetts Charter School Guarantee Fund
What's New
Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities grants announced; $4.5 million grant for teacher preparation in reading announced; Innovations in Education Exchange to focus on supplemental services.
Innovations in the News
A five-year draft report by the New York State Education Department finds that charter schools operating for two or more years are showing "dramatic increases" in student performance; plus information on professional development, school performance, and technology.

Massachusetts Charter School Guarantee Fund Created with OII Grant to Support Charter School Facilities
Charter schools often struggle to locate adequate facilities. An initiative in Massachusetts is working to change that. The Massachusetts Development Finance Agency (MassDevelopment), the state's economic development authority that helps charter schools get the funding they need to obtain facilities, has partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Education Charter Schools Office and the Massachusetts Charter School Association to create the Massachusetts Charter School Guarantee Fund.

The Fund will guarantee debt for the acquisition, construction, renovation, and improvements of charter school facilities. MassDevelopment's loan officer will work with a school's project manager to identify sources of credit. Throughout the life of a guarantee, MassDevelopment will:

  • monitor a school's compliance;
  • collect fees; and
  • receive financial information.
Two types of guarantees will be offered by the Fund: those for debt on facilities owned by charter schools, and those for loans to make improvements for facilities leased, but not owned, by charter schools. A Charter School Facility Fund Advisory Team will oversee the overall performance of the schools under the guaranteed funds and will promote charter schools that obtain real estate under their program.

The Fund will serve start-up as well as established schools. It will target areas that contain a large proportion or number of public schools that have been identified as needing improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act. Also, it will serve areas where schools have a large proportion of low-income students or students who perform poorly on state tests.

Since the Massachusetts charter school movement began in 1995, the principal partner in the Fund, MassDevelopment, has worked with 11 charter schools to secure $113.8 million in financing. In 2001, MassDevelopment completed the first Qualified Zone Academy Bond in the state for a charter school. MassDevelopment also has an extensive network in the finance and real estate sectors in the state and along the East Coast.

MassDevelopment has allocated time and expenses for outreach to its economic development counterparts in other states to encourage replication of this initiative. Outreach efforts will include publications of journal articles and presentations at industry meetings.

With a 25-year track record of economic development lending, MassDevelopment has been assigned an "A" rating by Standard & Poor's, and is one of the few public economic development agencies in the nation that can issue bonds based on its own borrowing strength. Most recently, it issued a $180 million bond for a downtown Boston redevelopment project.

MassDevelopment and its partners have worked for over three years to provide innovative solutions to financing charter school facilities. On Thursday September 18th, MassDevelopment received a grant from the Credit Enhancement for Charter Facilities program, administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement, to create the Massachusetts Charter School Guarantee Fund. The Fund aims to leverage this grant by a ratio of 10:1 and expects to commit all of the funds within two years.

For more information about the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, go to: For information about charter schools from the Massachusetts Department of Education, see, and for information about the Massachusetts Charter School Association, see For more information about the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities program, go to:


What's New
Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities press release.
Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities program grants have been announced. One grantee is MassDevelopment (see feature). To read the press release with the full list of awardees, see (Sept. 18)

Preparing Teachers on How to Teach Reading.
Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced a $4.5 million grant to help minority-serving higher education institutions prepare future teachers on how to teach reading using scientifically proven methods. For a press release about this grant, see (Sept. 15)

The Innovations in Education Exchange
The next Innovations in Education Exchange will focus on supplemental services. Secretary Rod Paige will offer the keynote address, followed by presentations from representatives of Sylvan Education Solutions, American Institutes for Research, the Colorado Department of Education, and the Black Alliance for Educational Options. The Exchange will be on Thursday, September 25th from 2:00 - 3:30 PM in room HC-5 of the U.S. Capitol. Please register at as soon as possible since seating is limited and advanced registration is required for security. (Sept. 8)


Innovations in the News

Charter Schools
A five-year draft report by the New York State Education Department finds that charter schools operating for two or more years are showing "dramatic increases" in student performance. [] (Sept 12)

Bay Mills Community College, an Upper Peninsula tribal college, is opening nine new charter schools in Michigan. [More-The Detroit News] (Sept 12)

Indiana's charter schools movement turns two years old this month. Since 2001, 17 charter schools have opened in the state. [More-NWI Times] (Sept 2)

Teacher and Principal Quality
Seven hundred new teachers, who are part of the national, nonprofit Teach for America, are in Philadelphia schools this year. Teach for America recruits the best and brightest college graduates--most in fields other than education--to teach in the poorest districts. [] (Sept 12)

The California State University San Marcos opened a center that will expand its middle-school teacher-training program. The program is dedicated to training teachers specifically for educating students in sixth through ninth grade. [] (Sept 11)

Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle spent two years creating a portrait of what the principal's job entails and analyzing whether current training offers adequate preparation. [More-Education Week] (Sept 10)

High school seniors in Pennsylvania used digital technologies to interview and record Pennsylvania World War II veterans during a project for the Pennsylvania Governor's School of Information Technology. [More-Education Week] (Sept 10)

Waukesha, Wisconsin School District administrators are investigating starting their own virtual school to respond to competition from the two virtual schools in the state. [More-The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel] (Sept 10)

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Last Modified: 04/26/2011