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Finding a high-quality, affordable facility is a daunting task for a charter school, no matter what its stage of development.

Continue reading for an overview of charter schools and facilities, or browse even more resources in the Library.

Before going out to look for a site, charter school operators should create a plan for their facilities needs. Facility Planning includes assessing the school's needs (based on anticipated enrollment and educational program), budgeting, and reviewing various options.

When selecting a site, a charter school will weigh its various options. There are several types of facilities that charters typically choose from, including Prop. 39 facilities, commercial leases, nonprofit leases, and charter-owned facilities, among others.

Proposition 39 was approved by voters in 2000, and it requires school districts to provide reasonably equivalent facilities to charter schools. Charter schools must submit applications every year to their district for Prop. 39 facilities, unless a long-term arrangement has been made.

Different facilities accommodate schools at different stages of growth, so schools look for short-term, long-term, and permanent facility solutions depending on their age and their financial situation. For new charters, operators typically look for short-term incubator sites--facilities that they can stay in for one to two years while their enrollment grows--such as Prop 39 sites or short-term leases. Once a school has full enrollment, they will often look for longer term solutions, such as long-term leases or multi-year agreements with their local school district.

The biggest challenge for charter schools when it comes to facilities is often funding and financing their facilities. Depending on the type of facility the charter school chooses, different options, both private and public, are available.

Because securing high-quality and affordable facilities is such a challenge for charter schools, CCSA devotes significant resources to advocacy in this area. Learn more about CCSA's approach to ensuring that all charters have equitable facilities.

Download and print a copy of the "Facilities Handbook"

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