School Choice & Charters

Charter Advocates Lobby to Restore Tax Credit for Facilities

By Sean Cavanagh — November 21, 2012 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A coalition of nearly 60 charter school organizations is urging members of Congress to revive a recently expired federal tax credit, one that the advocates say has proved critical to helping the independent public schools secure funding for building space.

In a letter to Rep. Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Sander Levin, the panel’s ranking Democrat, who is from the same state, the organizations argue in favor of re-establishing the New Markets Tax Credit, which expired at the end of last year.

The tax credit “has generated vital private investment to finance affordable facilities for public charter schools, created teaching jobs and provide new educational opportunities for our nation’s children in economically distressed communities,” the charter school officials say in the letter, sent to Capitol Hill this month.

The New Markets Tax Credit program was established by Congress in 2000 with the goal of encouraging investment in business and real-estate projects in impoverished communities. It seeks to increase the flow of investment capital to needy areas by providing individuals and corporate with federal tax credit in return for investing in specialized financial institutions called “community development entities,” according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Why would this help charter schools?

Charter schools often struggle to secure money for facilities, a problem that supporters of those schools say has several causes. States and local districts may not provide charters with any money for their buildings. Charter schools also lack taxing authority, and they can also face barriers in their ability to raise money through bonds, backers those schools often say. As a result, charters end up having to dig into their operating funds to pay for facilities, the writers of the letter contend. The tax credit allows community development entities, which are focused on working with needy communities, to raise private capital for facilities in partnership with charter school operators, the coalition of charter officials say.

Through the fiscal 2010 year, the tax credits have supported 260 investments, worth $1.15 billion, to create academic space for 125 charter schools in 21 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, citing Treasury Department data as its source.

“With a fragile economic recovery still underway and scarce private capital for charter school facilities, now is not the time to cut off this critical source of funding,” the letter says.

It’s unclear how soon Congress might consider the groups’ request, or if there’s appetite for making the change.

A spokesman for Rep. Camp, Sage Eastman, tells Education Week in an email that the Ways and Means Committee chairman is reviewing the issue, and similar requests, but that the committee “does not expect any decision on particular provisions or an overall package until we resolve the fiscal cliff negotiations.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Virtual Charters in Hot Water Again. Accusations of Fraud Prompt $150M Lawsuit
Indiana officials seek to recoup more than $150 million they say was either wrongly obtained or misspent by a consortium of virtual schools.
Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star
2 min read
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. Rokita filed a lawsuit against a group of online charter schools accused of defrauding the state out of millions of dollars Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings/AP
School Choice & Charters How the Pandemic Helped Fuel the Private School Choice Movement
State lawmakers got a new talking point as they pushed to create and expand programs to send students to private schools.
8 min read
Collage showing two boys in classroom during pandemic wearing masks with cropped photo of feet and arrows going in different directions.
Collage by Gina Tomko/EducationWeek (Images: Getty)
School Choice & Charters Opinion Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools
Rick Hess speaks with Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on charter schools turning 30.
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters In Fight Over Millions of Dollars for Charter Schools, a Marijuana Tax May Bring Peace
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind a polarizing lawsuit settlement, pending certain stipulations.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
Money bills cash funds close up Getty
Getty