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Charter school bonds have become a half-billion-dollar-a-year industry

A presentation made at the 2010 National Charter Schools Conference by Adam Porsch of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation showed that rated tax-exempt bond issues for charter schools in 2007 totaled $676 million. This amount did not include unrated tax-exempt financing. While Porsch et al found lower amounts for 2008 and 2009, large bond deals continue to be approved. On June 18, 2010 the Texas Insider reported on a landmark bond deal for the Cosmos Foundation, charter holder for the chain of over 30 Harmony Public Schools in Texas. The total worth of Cosmos' bonds sold in 2010 was 90 million dollars; many of these bonds will not mature until 2040. In 2009, KIPP, Inc received $67,285,000 in education revenue bonds from the Texas Public Finance Authority Charter School Finance Corporation, maturing in 2034. The Arizona Daily Star reported on September 12, 2010 and September 16, 2010 that the Board of Supervisors of Pima County, Arizona Industrial Development Authority approved a 90 million dollar bond deal for New Plan Learning, for construction and renovation of charter schools managed by Concept Schools in Ohio and Illinois, including several Horizon Science Academy schools and the Chicago Math and Science Academy. Questions were raised in both Ohio and Arizona regarding this deal, and it is not clear whether it will actually transpire. The owner of New Plan Learning, Vedat Akgun, was mentioned in the report "Authorized Abuse: Sponsors, Management and Ohio State Law" in connection with related-party deals that were said to not have met the standards of the NACSA (National Association of Charter School Authorizers).
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