When Emily and Ian McVey decided to open a charter school, their primary focus was to bring an innovative education approach to their hometown. As they worked to turn their dream of Foothill Leadership Academy into a reality, they faced the same challenge many new or expanding charter schools face – a funding gap. They had to open the school’s doors before receiving state per pupil funds needed to operate. They immediately turned to Charter School Capital to accelerate their PENSEC funding to aid in growth.
“We wouldn’t be here without Charter School Capital. That’s really the bottom line,” says Emily McVey, founding director of Foothill Leadership Academy.
As a new school based in Sonora, California, Foothill Leadership Academy had access to California’s Pupil Estimates for New or Significantly Expanding Charters (PENSEC) reporting program, which allows new or expanding charter schools to gain access to expedited federal and state funds. But even this program required them to prepare for opening months before they would receive charter school funding. Using Foothill Leadership Academy’s PENSEC report, Charter School Capital was able to step-in and deliver working capital to the school well in advance of California’s release of available funds.
“Without Charter School Capital, we would’ve never been able to open our doors because we weren’t getting any funding,” McVey says of her 130-student charter school. “As such a small school, the amount of funding we get is so small compared to other schools, but that funding made all the difference.”
Foothill Leadership Academy draws on a few innovative educational techniques, which combined make for a wholly unique educational experience for their students. “We’re a Leader in Me school, with a curriculum based off of Stephen R. Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” McVey explains. “We’re also an arts integrated school, so our students are fully engaged, not just sitting and listening.”
This approach has been so effective that Foothill has been operating at capacity since opening nearly three years ago, with a waitlist nearly as long as their attendance sheet.
The McVeys believe that operating a smaller school, with high teacher-to-student class ratios and small class sizes is a major component to Foothill’s success. As such, their charter school growth path includes opening additional locations, while keeping the footprint of each individual school fairly small. To keep their organization on this track, they’re going to continue to rely on PENSEC funding and an ongoing partnership with Charter School Capital.
With Charter School Capital, “it’s not just about the charter school funding,” McVey says, “It’s about the relationships I’m creating, and how I feel safe, and that what I’m doing is important to Charter School Capital. It’s very important to me, to feel that I can trust that relationship.” Are you with a new charter school in California? Existing charter school expanding grades? Give us a call about your growth needs and we can help you tap in to accelerated PENSEC funding to fuel your growth. Email us at GrowCharters@charterschoolcapital.org or call 877-272-1001. Our team is waiting to learn more about your school!
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Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!