Tierra Pacifica Charter School

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The challenge: One school, two facilities

Tierra Pacifica Charter School (TPCS) is a small charter school in Santa Cruz, California started in 1998 by four mothers who wanted to create a unique environment for their children. The school serves grades K-8. TPCS has a total enrollment of 126 students and intends to add 5-10 students over the next few years, primarily from family members of current Tierra students. The school was leasing facilities at two different locations.

The solution: Lenders who understand the unique challenges facing California charter schools

In 2007, Tierra Pacifica took advantage of a $640,000 loan provided by NCB Capital Impact through the California Charter Building Fund for 10 modular classroom units. The modular units are being used for 6 classrooms, 1 office suite, 1 art room, 1 music room, and 1 rest-room unit. The new space also has a large common area and ample outdoor space.

At project completion, the school was able to move to one central location on land leased from the Live Oak School District. Tierra used NCB Capital Impact loan proceeds, along with district education bonds, fundraising proceeds and their own cash, to improve the subject property and purchase modular units for classroom use.

The results: A school finds a home

The California Charter Building Fund helped provide the resources to launch Tierra Pacifica's building project successfully. The school received below-market interest rates on the loan, as well as facilities and finance technical assistance from CCSA.

The school, and its students, has found a home. Traditional subjects such as math, science, language arts, and social sciences are offered using innovative academic approaches to each subject, including student taught lessons and parent-led sessions. Tierra offers music, fine art, drama, and movement classes in the form of a "world music" orchestra, choral groups, dance classes, and 40 different elective courses throughout the year. In addition to traditional school subjects, the school also provides social, emotional, and physical intelligence options through conflict resolution and leadership training, various yoga and stress reduction workshops, and physical fitness activities such as jogging, juggling, and nutrition training.

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