Since 2000, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s (BofAML) dedicated charter school team has been providing financing for the development of public charter school facilities, nationally. Though no two charter schools are alike, safe, sustainable and functional facilities are vital to the success of every school. Charter schools are helping to close the achievement gap and are essential to BofAML Community Development Banking’s goal of increasing quality educational access in underserved communities.
Delivering quality education is a unique undertaking requiring careful listening, attention to detail, and a safe facility in which to serve students. We are committed to supporting your goals, whether you are looking to build one school to address a specific neighborhood need, rehabilitate existing facilities, or develop multi-phase facilities.
The acquisition, construction or renovation of charter school facilities requires specialized knowledge of financial needs as well as flexible design strategies. We work with developers, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and charter schools directly to provide tailored solutions for charter school facilities, drawing on our knowledge of local markets and broad industry trends.
The BofAML charter school team provides seasoned experience and expertise financing charter school facilities through:
Our professionals provide a comprehensive set of financial resources covering all aspects of facility financing, allowing your school to stabilize and grow. We have been innovative in our approach to multi-phased projects to allow the facility to be modified or expanded when the school is ready. We embrace schools that host health centers, promote healthy foods and provide other services for families and communities. Unlike other financial institutions, BofAML serves as a strategic advisor in helping to identify permanent financing solutions once your school is ready.
The benefits of using a commercial bank for the construction and/or rehabilitation of your school include low interest rates, an interest-only period during construction to allow your school to reach enrollment targets, and floating LIBOR-based pricing to allow prepayment whenever your school is ready, without expensive penalties. To minimize risk, our derivatives group can make swaps or caps available depending on the interest rate environment when your loan closes.
Community involvement is essential to the successful completion of a project. Charter schools, by their nature, grow out of community needs and obstacles to those needs. Developing a solution that will support your goals can only happen when your business team has a direct understanding of your community’s day-to-day life.
Our participation doesn’t end when the school doors open. You may find our associates running volunteer courses on financial literacy or participating in career days in schools we’ve financed.
BofAML Community Development Banking isn’t just committed to the success of your school—we want to see the community thrive as well.
The charter school team is backed by BofAML’s comprehensive institutional knowledge and services. Through our bank colleagues, we can help provide access to support day-to-day operating needs such as:
We understand that the construction of a charter school facility is just the beginning of an ongoing, complex process—and we strive to pair our clients with allies that can help them achieve their goals.
BofAML began financing charter school facilities in 2000 in Washington, D.C. Over the course of 17 years, we developed close ties in local communities and provided financing for the successful completion of more than 75 charter schools.
Building on our early efforts, we have expanded our reach and provided approximately $900 million in charter school facility financing.
■ Number in dark blue states denotes amount of facilities financed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch charter school team.
■ Royal blue denotes additional states where Bank of America Merrill Lynch welcomes the opportunity to finance charter school facilities based on state legislation.
Revitalizing an urban gem
Until 2017, public school children who attended one of D.C.’s foreign language-focused elementary schools had no way to continue that curriculum once they entered middle school. Instead, they were fed into neighborhood schools and potentially lost the benefit of their early language education.
That was before Building Hope, a community development consultant, approached BofAML Community Development Banking about the District of Columbia International School (DCI) project. DCI was envisioned to provide a comprehensive, start-to-finish multilingual education for children.
DCI is part of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) redevelopment project, in partnership with the city of Washington, D.C., the U.S. Armed Forces and the Federal Government. WRAMC, a former military hospital, was an underused 67-acre site in the heart of D.C., featuring parks, historic architecture and commercial spaces. Building Hope viewed BofAML as an ideal choice because of the unique nature of the project, the complexity in working with multiple entities and agencies, the large amount of funding needed, and the bank’s deep experience in the area.
BofAML Community Development Banking worked with the community, the city and federal agencies to create a funding package to renovate WRMAC’s Delano Hall, a former barracks, into a cutting-edge, 165,000-square-foot school. DCI will be home to 1,450 sixth to twelfth grade students and 250 prekindergarten to fifth grade students enrolled in the LAMB English first language program.
Thanks to DCI and LAMB, Washington, D.C., now has a comprehensive, K-12 foreign language program to help the community and their scholars get the education they need to prepare for the future.
Washington, D.C., charter school community
Charter schools are a popular education option in D.C. From 2000 to 2016 the number of students enrolled in D.C. charter schools as a percent of total enrollment increased from approximately 12% to 44%. Washington, D.C., communities partnered with BofAML Community Development Banking on 75 of those projects. As a result, thousands of students are enrolled in modernized, comfortable and safe charter school facilities.
Building Hope organization
Building Hope is a national development consultancy that promotes school-centered community revitalization through technical and financial assistance related to capital projects. Their mission is to create excellent charter school programs and facilities that give underserved children the opportunity to thrive. BofAML Community Development Banking has been a trusted advisor since 2000.