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Media Statement Following Jackson County Board of Commissioners Meeting - October 24, 2023

On October 24, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a letter of intent to proceed with Summit Charter School’s bridge loan request in the amount of $2.5 million to support the construction of a new high school building on Summit’s campus. The purpose of the short-term loan request is to bridge cash flow needs during construction as we raise funds and collect pledges toward our total fundraising goal of $6.5 million to fully fund Summit’s facility expansion. With the Board of Commissioners approval of a letter of intent to move forward with Summit’s bridge loan request, Summit will now work with Jackson County staff to finalize the terms of a loan agreement. Before a loan is executed, the terms must still be approved by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, the Summit Charter School Foundation Board, and the Summit Charter School Trustee Board. In August 2023, Summit broke ground on the construction of a new high school building on our campus due to record enrollment. Since 2019, Summit has experienced 28% growth in enrollment and as a result, the school has reached its current facility capacity. The construction of a new high school building will expand our facility capacity to support current and future enrollment growth, as well as support the growing population of Jackson County. After a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process, Summit hired J. Davis Construction of Anderson, South Carolina as general contractor for the construction project. The budget for Summit’s expansion need is $6.5 million. Summit is committed to funding the full cost of the new construction through private donations and foundation and corporate grants. For this purpose, in August 2023, we publicly launched a capital campaign, and to-date have raised $4.8 million toward a $6.5 million campaign goal. Our goal is to have commitments totaling $6.5 million by August 2024. Of the $4.8 million raised to-date, we have received $2.8 million in-hand, and the remaining $2 million in pledges. Fundraising efforts for the expansion are led by the Summit Charter School Foundation, a 501(c)3 that raises private funding to support Summit Charter School.

In North Carolina, public charter schools have historically received zero funding for capital expenses and have therefore been required to fund their school facility needs through sources outside of the state and county governments.

On August 16, 2023, the North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 219 into law, enacting Session Law 2023-107. The new law allows counties to provide funds for charter school capital needs through either direct appropriations or as a loan.

As a result, public charter schools, including Summit Charter School, now have the opportunity to request funding from counties for facility needs. Summit is a North Carolina tuition-free and non-profit public charter school, first authorized by the State Board of Education in 1997.

Summit is grateful for this opportunity to partner with the Jackson County Board of Commissioners to positively impact the education of 303 Summit students and support our incredibly dedicated teachers and staff.

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