Media Statement - January 16, 2024
On January 16, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution to support a loan agreement between Jackson County, Summit Charter School, and the Summit Charter School Foundation. The resolution authorizes the County Manager to execute a loan agreement that provides Summit Charter School and the Summit Charter School Foundation a $2.5 million bridge loan with an interest rate that must not be less than 5% to support the construction of a new high school building on Summit’s campus. The purpose of the short-term loan is to bridge cash flow needs during construction as Summit raises funds and collects pledges toward a total fundraising goal of $6.5 million to fully fund Summit’s facility expansion.
Before the loan agreement is executed, the terms must still be approved by the Summit Charter School Foundation Board of Directors and the Summit Charter School Trustee Board of Directors.
In August 2023, Summit broke ground on the construction of a new high school building on its 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 the school’s facility capacity to support current and future enrollment growth across K-12 grades, 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.
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, Summit publicly launched a capital campaign, and to-date has raised $5.3 million toward a $6.5 million campaign goal. Summit’s goal is to have commitments totaling $6.5 million by August 2024. Of the $5.3 million raised to-date, Summit has received $3.6 million in-hand, and the remaining in multi-year 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 nonprofit 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 Summit students and support our incredibly dedicated teachers and staff.