Charter Schools Balance Facilities & Tight Finances
It is no surprise to anyone that charter school demand is exploding across the country. It seems as though I see a Google Alert every day for a new charter school application being submitted or another charter school receiving approval somewhere in our nation. There are a plethora of reasons why charter schools are started but the challenges facing start-up and expanding charter schools alike are most often focused around the need for sufficient funding and educational facilities.
It varies by state, but a newly approved charter school often receives a relatively small lump sum of money – seed money – used to initially get the school started. Once the school is up and running, monthly funding flows to the charter school on a per pupil basis. The financial and facilities balancing act is generally caused by the disparity between the lump sum provided to get the school started and the actual costs associated with acquiring the facilities necessary to start the school. Furthermore, charters are often approved with annually increasing enrollment caps, although budget constraints do not allow for charter schools to acquire a sufficient amount of initial space to prepare for subsequent annual enrollment increases. Instead, limited charter school budgets require that schools expand as their enrollment grows.
What options are available for charter schools that are balancing the need for facilities and have tight finances?
Prefabricated modular buildings provide both new and well-established charter schools with the affordable opportunity to lease relocatable classrooms, cafeterias, libraries, restrooms, administrative office buildings, and more; creating an entire campus that can be easily expanded or relocated as the school grows. Leasing modular buildings can help charter school leadership align monthly per pupil income with facility expenses, eliminating the need to borrow money or raise large amounts of capital.
Beyond the challenge of tight finances, there is also the issue of a compressed timeline for getting a charter school up and running. Many times a charter school is approved within 12 months of their expected opening school year. That is not a lot of time to put everything in place for a smooth opening. Portable modular buildings can be installed within a shorter time-frame than practically any other type of building construction, including rehabilitation of an existing structure. Leasing relocatable buildings gives charter schools flexibility to switch out smaller buildings for larger ones as the needs of the school change.
If your charter school is working toward approval or has already received authorization, consider how modular buildings can provide you with a cutting-edge facility to help your school achieve its goal of providing high quality education.