Permanent School Fund Guarantees Life School Bonds
Access to funds will help Dallas area charter school refund existing debt and construct
new high school in Waxahachie
(Lancaster, TX) May 5, 2014 – Life School, with over 4,500 students on six campuses in Dallas and Ellis Counties, announced last week that it is the first charter school in Texas to access the backing of the Permanent School Fund (PSF) guarantee. The PSF is a state-run pool of money that guarantees bonds sold by public schools. In 2011 and 2013, the Texas Legislature allowed access for charters to the PSF bond guarantee and then in January, the State Board of Education, which oversees the fund, finalized the legislative action to back bonds for charter schools, which receive public money and operate independently of traditional public schools.
“We commend the State of Texas for providing the PSF guarantee in support of high quality education programs, and appreciate the work of RBC Capital Markets in capturing substantial savings in pricing for this first of its kind bond issue,” stated Brent Wilson, Superintendent of Life School.
A total of over $92 million in bonds were sold nationwide on April 30, 2014. The school entered the market at an opportune time. There was extremely strong investor demand for the credit and opportunity to buy the first PSF charter school issue.
Over $85.6 million of the PSF backed bonds were issued through the Arlington Higher Education Finance Corporation for the benefit of Life School and will be used to refund existing debt and the construction of new facilities, including a new high school in Waxahachie to accommodate student growth. Life School also issued $6.5 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs), a federal tax credit bond program, through the Waxahachie Education Finance Corporation as a separate PSF Series that will be used for the Waxahachie campus. The bonds were sold at a combined interest rate of 3.8% (net of the federal tax credit).
Life School is the first public charter school in Texas to access the backing of the PSF guarantee which in the past was reserved for traditional public schools.
“This is truly a game changer for us and will give all charter schools broader access to investors which in the end will lower borrowing costs,” said Scott Fuller, Life School Chief of Staff.
Construction is currently underway for the new campus in Waxahachie. The new 125,000 square foot, state-of-the art campus will serve approximately 1,000 9th-12th graders and will open in August 2015. There will be science labs, computer labs, an audiovisual lab, extracurricular activities and athletic practice fields at the new campus.
About Life School
Life School opened as a public charter school in 1998 and has campuses in Oak Cliff, West Dallas, Cedar Hill, Lancaster, Red Oak and Waxahachie. In 2013 and 2014, Life School earned the highest rating of five stars from the Texas Comptroller Financial Allocation Study for Texas (FAST), which recognizes school districts and campuses for excellence in resource allocations that contribute to high academic achievement and cost-effective operations. Life School’s mission is to train leaders with life skills for the 21st century by establishing strong academics, character training and a parenting program.