News & Events> Financing Supports Opening Day for New Jersey Charter
The start of the school year signaled opening day for a 346-seat startup charter public school in Plainfield, New Jersey, supported in part by a working capital line of credit from the Leviticus Fund.
Leviticus’ portion of the loan to College Achieve Central Charter School – equaling $225,000 – marks its entry into the financing market of charter public schools. Leviticus is a co-lender for the College Achieve project with New Jersey Community Capital, which is financing the remaining half of the full $450,000 loan.
As a startup, College Achieve is initially serving grades K-2 and 5-6 and has plans to expand its program over time to serve a maximum enrollment of 1,013 students in grades K-12. College Achieve is using funds from its loan to pay for faculty and student supply expenses for the charter public school, which opened for classes in late August.
College Achieve’s operations actually started back in February of 2015, with a focus on building enrollment and outreach to the Plainfield community. That strategy met with success. The charter school started its first school year achieving its full enrollment goal of 346 students; 88 in kindergarten, 66 in first grade, 48 in second grade and 72 students in both the fifth and sixth grades. Enrolled students are 61% Hispanic and 38% black, while 81% of the students are eligible to receive either free or reduced price lunch.
“Leviticus has a long history of financing educational facilities for very young children, so it is natural for us to broaden our lending impact to now include charter public schools,’ explained Greg Maher, Leviticus’ Executive Director. “College Achieve’s curriculum places strong emphasis on building reading and writing skills for all students, and introduces foreign language study early in a student’s development. Students at College Achieve will also receive double the average instructional time that New Jersey schools now offer in science.”
“Leviticus is impressed with the rigorous educational focus of College Achieve,” added Mr. Maher, “and we are pleased to support the charter public school at this important point in the new school year as it seeks to build the academic capacity of its students.”
"In New Jersey, there seems to only be philanthropic support for charter schools in Newark and Camden. Anywhere else in New Jersey, no matter how dire the need, there is virtually nothing,” explained Michael Piscal, Founder and Executive Director of College Achieve. “That's where New Jersey Community Capital and the Leviticus Fund come in to provide working capital loans to help get charters off the ground. Without the financial support of NJCC and the Leviticus Fund, we might not have been able to open our doors. With their working capital, we not only opened, but we were able to scale up to nearly 350 students. We are so grateful to NJCC and the Leviticus Fund."
College Achieve’s academic facility is being leased from the parish of St. Bernard of Clairvaux and St. Stanislaus Kostka, and has been in continuous use as a school and community space since it first opened in 1927.
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