Athlos Academies Assists Four Schools in Transitioning Facility Ownership

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Four Texas charter schools were transferred ownership of their school buildings

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“Our mission as an education service provider has always been to see that ownership of these schools ends up in the hands of the local governing school boards as quickly as possible,” says Jason Kotter, co-founder of Athlos Academies.

Athlos Academies, an Idaho-based education service provider, assisted four Texas charter schools into ownership of their facilities by their local school board. The social venture organization has provided financing, land acquisition, design, and construction services to over 20 charter schools across the country. This funding solution saves scarce resources that can then be invested in classroom instruction.

“Our mission as an education service provider has always been to see that ownership of these schools ends up in the hands of the local governing school boards as quickly as possible,” says Jason Kotter, co-founder of Athlos Academies. “While many charter school builders want to retain facility ownership as long as possible, we do not believe that is in the best interest of the schools. The short time between these schools opening less than two years ago and closing on the bond market this week is proof that our social venture model is working and assisting schools in more effectively serving students.”

In the case of the four International Leadership of Texas schools closed on this week, ownership of the school was transferred in less than two years—an unprecedented accomplishment. These bond closings represent 15 total facilities Athlos Academies has taken to the bond market on behalf of local school boards since 2008.

“Athlos Academies continues to support International Leadership of Texas’ growth and educational opportunities for kids,” says Edward Conger, superintendent of the network of charter schools. “Through a partnership with Athlos, we are able to have the highest quality facilities for learning and own the facilities in less than two years. This provides a wonderful avenue for ILTexas to focus budgets on teaching and learning and not escalating long-term facility expenses. We are grateful for the partnership with Athlos Academies.”

Access to capital needed to build facilities is often a major obstacle for charter schools that do not have local taxing authority to finance construction like traditional schools. Additionally, most banks will not grant new charter schools loans, because they do not have an enrolled student population or a proven academic track record when construction begins. Many charter schools are forced to start up in rented strip malls, churches, and other spaces that may not be conducive to learning.

Athlos Academies provides a sustainable solution to this challenge through its innovative new model. There are two branches to the company: The Charter School Fund, which specializes in facilities, and School Model Support, which provides educational services. Charter schools partnering with Athlos are able to open on day one in state-of-the-art facilities. Athlos provides local governing school boards with up front capital through a lease-purchase agreement. After a short number of years, the company facilitates partner schools in accessing traditional financing, such as going to the tax-exempt bond market by finding underwriters to sell the bonds.

For more information on Athlos Academies and their innovative charter school model, visit http://athlosacademies.org/. For more information on International Leadership of Texas charter schools, visit http://www.iltexasdistrict.org/.

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Heather Ybarrondo
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