The State Treasurer authorized the allocation to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA), which will work jointly with the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) to administer the funds. QSCBs may be issued to finance the construction, rehabilitation or repair of school facilities or for the acquisition of land where a school will be built. Investors who purchase QSCBs receive federal income tax credits at prescribed tax credit rates in lieu of interest. These tax credit rates essentially allow a school to borrow without incurring interest costs.
“Governor Christie has made expanding and providing effective educational choices for students and their families a top priority,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Michele Brown.
“This low-cost borrowing will help charter schools create facilities and classrooms of the 21st century, offering our students the opportunity to compete in an increasingly competitive global economy.”
The New Jersey Charter School Association, the Colorado League of Charter Schools, and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools recently published a report that showed the majority of charter schools in the state are located in outdated facilities. Further, most don't have athletic fields or specialized instructional spaces, such as science labs or music rooms.
Requests for funding through the $125 million allocation will be reviewed on a per project basis, with a maximum of $40 million per project. As a competitive solicitation, projects will be scored based on project readiness and DOE educational quality criteria and must meet other eligibility requirements. Project financing must be ready to close no later than December 31, 2013 and the project must commence construction no later than 90 days after closing of the project financing. Applicants must also have site plan approval from the municipality, or evidence of commencement of the site plan approval process, in which the project resides.