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U.S. Charter Schools Sector Fiscal 2021 Medians: Schools Get A Booster From Pandemic Relief


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U.S. Charter Schools Sector Fiscal 2021 Medians: Schools Get A Booster From Pandemic Relief

S&P Global Ratings' median financial metrics for rated charter schools strengthened in fiscal 2021, as anticipated, following sizable amounts of pandemic relief, increased per pupil funding in most states, and overall steady demand trends. The third and largest round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) for public K-12 schools extends through September 2024, so we expect debt service coverage and liquidity metrics for charter schools will remain buoyed by this support in the near term, depending on broader economic conditions.

In fiscal 2021, median financial metrics improved as per pupil funding trends fared better than schools originally expected, with 18 of 20 states with three or more rated schools experiencing stable-to-increasing per pupil funding compared with the previous year. ESSER I, II, and III emergency money has provided, on average, significant reimbursements for COVID-19-related expenses and the allowable overlap often helped schools displace some existing expenses. Only 25% of rated issuers applied for and received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, so the improvement in median financial metrics is predominately due to the aforementioned factors. We have included both PPP and ESSER funds in our medians calculations based on audited presentations. However, we stress-test schools' financials as part of our credit analysis, adjusting out one-time funds to assess schools' underlying performance. We are monitoring management teams' budgeting practices and expense sustainability for when these one-time funds expire. Most schools indicate these funds are being used for one-time academic intervention and support programs for students, along with bonuses for teachers and capital projects.

Fall 2020 (fiscal 2021) median enrollment and demand metrics remained mostly stable from the previous year, which was not surprising given what we had been hearing anecdotally from rated schools throughout the pandemic. Even with the transition to virtual or hybrid learning for many schools across the country in fall 2020, median enrollment across all rated charter schools fell by less than 1%. Waitlists shrank slightly, spurred, in part, by families choosing to delay pre-school and kindergarten applications. Generally, student retention held strong, demonstrating the reluctance to switch schools during a tumultuous academic year. Building on these trends, our initial fall 2021 demand data (fiscal 2022) show overall median enrollment growth, providing evidence of rated charter schools' nimbleness through the pandemic and their ability to attract new students with the return of in-person instruction.


Rated Charter School Universe Expands While Outlooks Stabilize

In the past year, the number of public charter school ratings rose by 5%, reflecting a maturing sector, low interest-rate environment, and charter schools' increasing access to capital markets. Ratings range from 'A-' to 'D' (see chart 1). The share of speculative-grade ratings remained comparable with last year at about 57%. The greatest number of ratings are 'BBB-'; this rating level rose to a four-year high at 101 ratings, reflecting some self-selection in schools accessing the public debt markets.

Chart 1


Since last summer, upgrades have outpaced downgrades two to one, following stable-to-increasing enrollment, significant cushion provided by federal stimulus, and higher per pupil revenue in most states. At the height of the pandemic, in May 2020, 14% of charter school ratings had a negative outlook, and none had a positive outlook, reflecting the uncertainty of state funding at the time and the substantial uptick of one-time expenses from the transition to distance learning. As of June 2022, only 7% of ratings have a negative outlook and 6% have a positive outlook (see chart two). In the past year, 81% of outlook revisions were either a return to a stable or a positive outlook. Overall, we believe these outlook changes are captured in the stable outlook we have for the sector (see "Outlook For Charter Schools: While Growing Demand And Stimulus Funds Provide Flexibility, Risks Persist," published Jan. 11, 2022).

Despite these positive trends, the charter school sector has inherent risks, in that charter schools require a charter contract to operate, and nonrenewal or revocations can affect credit quality swiftly. We closely monitor all rated schools' charter contracts and understand that almost all the schools that were up for renewal in 2022 were successfully renewed. The few renewals remaining are in the process of presenting at June board meetings, and we do not anticipate any non-renewals. No rated schools faced revocation in the past year.

Chart 2


The Methodology Behind Our Median Calculations

We produced these medians from fiscal 2021 audited results for charter schools with public ratings based on our charter schools criteria. For organizations where our group rating methodology applies, we have included financials of either the obligated group or the consolidated group, depending on which we believe are more meaningful to the rating outcome based on the relationship between the obligated group and consolidated group.

These medians are not requirements for any particular rating, but rather reflect the sector's general credit trends at the specified levels. As economic conditions and the number of rated schools change, so can the reported medians change over time. We view financial ratio analysis as important in our assessment of a charter school's credit quality. However, it is just one of many factors we assess. Our ratings encompass a variety of enterprise profile and other qualitative factors (demand and competition, academic performance, management and governance, growth plans, local area demographics, state charter frameworks, and charter structure) that are all key to our analysis. We publish these medians as general benchmarks and measures to observe broader industry trends. Credit analysis involves an assessment of many qualitative factors that are beyond the scope of this article. Therefore, these medians should not be considered thresholds to achieve a particular rating.

Median Finances Improve Amid A Healthy Funding Environment

While some of the fiscal 2021 median metrics remain consistent with those of previous years, many key financial metrics improved (see table 1). Median excess margins doubled, boosted predominately by emergency ESSER funds that addressed one-time expenses but also offset some reoccurring expenses. As a result, maximum annual debt service (MADS) coverage strengthened too. This change reflects improved margins combined with slightly lower median MADS, as many schools used the low-interest-rate environment to refinance existing debt. Balance sheets also improved. In fiscal 2021, median days' cash on hand jumped by almost 12% from the year before, compared with just a 7% increase between fiscal 2020 and fiscal 2019. PPP loans hit only 25% of rated schools' balance sheets in fiscal 2020 and contributed to only two days' cash on hand, highlighting other factors, such as generally stable enrollment, state per pupil funding growth, and ESSER funds as the main drivers for rosier reserves across the fiscal 2021 medians.

Most schools will receive ESSER reimbursements in the coming two-to-three fiscal years. According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, as published in the Wall Street Journal, public K-12 schools across the country cumulatively have about 93% of their ESSER III money left to spend through September 2024. Thus, we expect our medians will continue to strengthen in fiscal 2022 due to these additional federal dollars. However, inflationary pressures remain top of mind, especially as they relate to rising teacher compensation and staff wage growth to attract and retain talent. Economic conditions, demographic shifts, and increased competition for students amid a variety of new learning options will continue to influence the sector and our median metrics. Schools' receipt of ESSER dollars may also cause noise in the upcoming medians if expenditures and corresponding reimbursements cross two different fiscal years.

Table 1

Charter School Sectorwide Medians
2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
No. of ratings* 313 297 287 282 282 277 265
Enrollment 1,085 1,090 1,053 1,084 1,020 979 945
Waitlist (% of enrollment) 18.9 22.4 24.6 26.8 29.1 29.5 31
Student retention rate (%) 90 89 89 89 90 90 N.A.
EBIDA margin (%) 18.9 15.4 15.5 15.2 15.2 15.7 15.6
Excess margin (%) 8.7 4.7 4.0 3.9 3.5 3.5 3.8
Current MADS ($000s) 1,464 1,492 1,333 1,405 1,332 1,259 1,282
Lease-adjusted MADS coverage (x) 1.9 1.5 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.4 1.4
Lease-adjusted MADS burden (% of revenue) 10.4 11.3 11.6 12.1 12.4 12.7 N.A.
Days' unrestricted cash on hand 140.7 126 117.9 111.1 109.3 100.5 91
Unrestricted cash and investments to debt (%) 26.4 23.5 21 19.4 17.7 16.1 16.2
Unrestricted net assets (% expenses) 36.2 30.4 26.9 25.1 24.9 24.6 20
Debt to capitalization (%) 79.4 82.6 84.96 85.9 87 87.6 89.5
Debt per student ($) 15,321 15,376 14,424 14,714 14,592 14,581 13,693
Total revenue ($000s) 14,747 13,154 11,740 11,258 10,282 9,431 N.A.
State revenue per student ($) 8,563 8,173 7,842 7,432 7,253 7,205 6,976
Total expense per student ($) 11,050 10,493 10,231 9,627 9,239 9,144 8,879
Medians as of May 13, 2022. *Ratings can represent numerous schools. MADS--Maximum annual debt service. N.A.--Not available.

Lower-Rated Schools Benefited More From Pandemic Relief

Our financial medians continued to strengthen across rating categories in fiscal 2021 (see table 2). We anticipated this due to the infusion of substantial pandemic-relief and cost savings associated with many rated schools operating in a virtual or hybrid learning mode for at least some portion of the fiscal year. These nonrecurring revenues had a more significantly positive effect on lower-rated entities. Specifically, excess income margins in the 'B' category improved by a much greater extent relative to fiscal 2020 when compared with all other rating categories. Similarly, balance-sheet metrics for the 'B' and 'BB' categories strengthened materially whereas investment-grade ratings saw a more muted impact on average. This is generally because lower-rated schools tend to have a smaller operating base and less financial flexibility than higher-rated peers, so additional one-time money can have a greater impact.

Table 2

Fiscal 2021 Charter School Medians By Rating
No. of ratings* 7 29 99 74 69 23 11
Enrollment 2,436 2,360 1,264 1,185 792 796 759
Waitlist (% of enrollment) 79 25.0 31.2 16.6 9.0 2.3 -
Student retention rate (%) 93 90.0 91.0 92.0 87.3 90.7 87.4
EBIDA margin (%) 18.3 16.3 19.0 20.5 18.3 18.6 18.2
Excess margin (%) 9.6 9.5 9.1 10.5 6.5 6.0 8.0
Lease-adjusted MADS coverage (x) 2.4 2.2 2.1 2.1 1.6 1.9 1.8
Current MADS ($000s) 3,221 2,531 1,398 1,830 1,285 1,373 1,213
Lease-adjusted MADS burden (% of revenue) 8 7.8 9.7 10.9 11.5 11.6 10.4
Days' unrestricted cash on hand 216 195.7 164.9 146.6 115.7 93.7 87.3
Unrestricted cash and investments to debt (%) 56 44.0 34.0 27.0 16.8 15.9 16.4
Unrestricted net assets (% expenses) 39 71.2 42.0 34.7 30.8 22.2 19.9
Debt per student ($) 14,936 13,225 14,227 16,448 18,648 18,857 15,076
State revenue per student ($) 10,557 8,940 8,010 8,656 8,636 8,555 8,610
Total expense per student ($) 13,040 10,852 10,108 11,588 10,700 12,564 11,183
Total revenue ($000s) 36,606 32,653 15,656 16,782 10,087 11,947 8,383
Debt to capitalization (%) 70 63.1 76.4 79.9 83.5 87.7 87.4
Medians as of May 13, 2022. *Ratings can represent numerous schools.

Fall 2020's demand metrics were more mixed across rating categories as some schools posted year-over-year gains in median enrollment while others saw a decrease, with no meaningful correlation to credit quality. There was a consistent trend of stable-to-improved student retention across all rating categories, with more pronounced improvement at the lower end of the rating spectrum. Although generally lower enrollment and generally higher retention may at first seem contradictory, they can be explained in part by a materially lower number of pre-school and kindergarten entrants. As a result, at many schools with a larger number of students enrolled in the lowest grade levels, enrollment fell.

Fiscal Growth Varied Widely By State

Chart 3


In the past year, the number of states with public charter school ratings expanded by one with the addition of the first rated school in Oklahoma. We now rate charter schools in 26 states plus D.C. (see chart 3). California tops the list with the most (38) publicly rated charter schools. Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and Texas all have at least 25 rated schools. Florida and New York had the most activity in terms of new ratings; we rated three new schools in each state in the past year.

Some states have large charter school networks, with multiple schools supporting a single rating, which can result in higher median enrollment and total revenues. Chart 3 reflects the number of obligated groups supporting rated debt, and not the number of schools or networks. Table 3 lists medians for states with at least 10 public ratings on charter schools.

Table 3

Charter School Medians By State
Year charter school law was enacted 1994 1992 1993 1996 1994 1991 1998 1997 1995 1998
Median rating BB+ BB+ BBB- BBB- BB BB+ BB+ BB+ BBB- BBB-
Majority of schools authorized by State charter board Local school districts Local school districts Local school districts Public universities Non-profits Public universities Local school districts State charter board State charter board
No. of issuers 25 38 26 14 29 28 14 19 33 24
Enrollment 1188 1760 850 1578 791 730 928 856 1554 915
Waitlist (% of enrollment) 11.1 18.6 25.1 31.4 0.1 7.9 57.7 86.1 15.8 20.8
Student retention rate (%) 89.0 93.1 89.0 93.8 88.0 91.0 91.0 95.0 85.7 83.0
EBIDA margin (%) 19.5 18.1 22.4 18.1 17.4 19.4 24.4 18.9 19.0 20.3
Excess margin (%) 5.2 10.4 8.4 7.7 9.3 7.0 17.1 10.3 6.6 8.6
Lease-adjusted MADS coverage (x) 1.6 2.4 1.8 1.8 1.8 2.0 2.6 2.5 1.9 1.8
Current MADS ($000s) 1369 2297 1331 1514 826 1284 1642 1762 2315 845
Lease-adjusted MADS burden (% of revenue) 13.0 8.7 10.5 10.7 10.2 11.0 13.4 9.8 10.5 10.7
Days' unrestricted cash on hand 101.3 138.9 176.7 186.4 89.5 128.9 237.3 147.3 140.0 168.2
Unrestricted cash and investments to debt (%) 15.6 38.0 30.1 35.2 25.5 20.5 67.1 30.7 21.7 27.6
Unrestricted net assets (% expenses) 18.3 59.5 44.1 46.2 31.8 27.4 70.5 29.5 19.4 32.1
Debt per student ($) 17,989 13,484 15,120 10,747 11,599 24,259 20,627 19,561 17,825 14,459
State revenue per student ($) 7,787 10,370 7,590 7,728 8,408 8,621 16,334 14,807 9,864 3,921
Total expense per student ($) 9,396 13,259 9,966 8,801 10,558 13,124 16,127 15,696 10,865 8,529
Total revenue ($000s) 12,994 23,976 9,428 16,099 8,422 10,216 18,345 18,340 19,292 8,565
Debt to capitalization (%) 91 63 81 78 76 87 55 73 91 82
Funding trend 2020-2021* Increasing Flat Decreasing Increasing Flat Increasing Flat Increasing Increasing Increasing
Funding trend 2021-2022* Increasing Increasing Increasing Increasing Increasing Increasing Increasing Increasing Increasing Increasing
Medians as of May 13, 2022. MADS--Maximum annual debt service. *Funding per pupil in fiscal years.

Issuers in Colorado, Florida, Texas, and Utah have the highest median ratings, with common characteristics supporting the relatively higher credit quality: strong balance-sheet and liquidity metrics with correspondingly low-to-moderate debt metrics. Furthermore, all these states, except Florida, have state credit enhancement programs, which provide lower costs of financing and, in some cases, require certain minimum underlying credit characteristics to qualify for the enhancement.

Michigan schools continue to have the lowest median ratings, supported by comparatively low medians for enrollment and waitlists, limited unrestricted cash, and high debt per student. Somewhat offsetting these weaknesses, Michigan statute limits the use of per pupil funding for debt service to 20%, which somewhat curbs the impact of debt service on the operating budget. While many of the charter schools in the state are relatively small, in our opinion, they serve high-need students in low socioeconomic areas with dwindling school-age populations.

Although median enrollment fell modestly in fall 2020, it rose in most states from fall 2019 to fall 2020. Charter schools in D.C., Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee all had significant enrollment growth (greater than 5%), reflecting, in part, the presence of networks in these states with growth plans that preceded the pandemic. In North Carolina and Texas schools, enrollment growth was slower in fall 2020 but grew further the following year, posting notable gains from fall 2019 to fall 2021 (see map). Meanwhile, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah schools' median enrollment changes were slightly negative, which anecdotally is explained by competitive home-school and online options in these states. Michigan schools' median enrollment decline was the most pronounced at almost 4%, although losses slowed in fall 2021 with the return of in-person instruction.

Our data suggest that charter schools in certain states felt a greater impact from federal pandemic relief than others. Notably, median excess margins in Florida, Michigan, and Minnesota schools rose considerably in fiscal 2021 whereas in Arizona and Colorado they improved by just 5%. Days' cash on hand improved the most in Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Texas, but it weakened on average in Arizona, Colorado, and New York. However, the drop in New York schools' median cash position is largely caused by one school's purchase of a facility, distorting the year-over-year comparison with other state medians. Arizona, operating under a pre-pandemic state statute, funded full-time virtual students at 95% of the state's base per pupil funding level for fiscal 2021, and Colorado's per pupil funding fell by about 5%, which helps explain the weaker margins and reserves in those states. Minnesota was the only state with a more notable difference in liquidity when adjusting out PPP loans, with a 21-day difference in days' cash on hand. Other state medians saw a negligible difference from PPP loans.

Flexibility Tends To Favor Larger Networks

Large charter school networks continued to benefit from their economies of scale achieved by their size compared with their small single-site counterparts amid the pandemic. Table 4 compares charter school networks with 10 or more campuses alongside single-site schools with fewer than 500 students. Demand metrics indicate a stark contrast between the two groups, with large networks boasting not only higher median enrollment but also meaningfully stronger waitlists. In terms of relative performance in fiscal 2021, enrollment increased at large networks by 6% on average in fall 2020 from fall 2019 while at small single-site schools it dropped 1%, reflecting networks' expansion plans that often preceded the pandemic. Similarly, waitlist as a percentage of enrollment improved nearly 36% at large networks while single-site waitlists weakened nearly 52%.

Table 4

Large Networks Versus Smaller Single-Site Schools Medians Comparison
Large networks (10+ campuses) Small single sites (<500 enrollment)
No. of ratings 28 28
Enrollment 8,569 402
Waitlist (% of enrollment) 25.0 7.1
Student retention rate (%) 89.0 89.7
EBIDA margin (%) 17.2 18.0
Excess margin (%) 7.8 8.2
Lease-adjusted MADS coverage 1.8 1.8
Current MADS ($000s) 12,016 539
Lease-adjusted MADS burden (% 9.4 9.8
Days' unrestricted cash on hand 139.2 136.6
Unrestricted cash and investments 27.0 35.0
Unrestricted net assets (% expenses) 37.7 38.5
Debt per student ($) 14,999 14,908
State revenue per student ($) 10,336 8,532
Total expense per student ($) 11,852 12,195
Total revenue ($000s) 142,462 4,913
Debt to capitalization (%) 77.3 76.6
Medians as of May 13, 2022. MADS--Maximum annual debt service.

Large networks' financial growth outperformed small single-site medians in fiscal 2021 as well. With substantial enrollment bases, larger networks benefitted more from per pupil funding hikes, and they also often received more federal relief than smaller schools, depending on the demographic they serve, as well as greater fundraising and grant opportunities. Excess margins for networks improved 175% in fiscal 2021 from fiscal 2020, versus 48% for small stand-alone schools. MADS coverage at networks also improved at a higher rate. Liquidity growth was more pronounced too, with a 24% jump in days' cash from the year prior, compared with a 2.5% drop at single-site schools. Notably, none of the rated large networks applied for PPP loans and only three small schools applied, so the changes in metrics were not due to these funds. Overall, the financial medians converged across the two subgroups, such that there is now little difference in many of their key performance metrics. This highlights how networks can often operate with thinner margins and less cash on hand at any given time, since the sizable absolute values of their financial metrics provide financial flexibility and stability, which proves important during a crisis.


What We're Watching

Fall 2022 enrollment trends.   Although initial fall 2021 median enrollment indicates a rebound from previous years, the recovery is uneven. In 14 states with five or more rated issuers, enrollment in nine states increased in fall 2021 from fall 2019 (see map). However, the pandemic and demographic shifts have pressured enrollment in states like California and Michigan. We will monitor enrollment trends in fall 2022 and whether states like Colorado, Florida, and Utah, with solid school-aged populations, are able to recapture enrollment losses as more students return to classrooms, or if saturation in these markets and longer-term shifts in student preferences are more to blame for median enrollment declines.

Recessionary pressures.   S&P Global Economics' U.S. real-time economic trackers continue to show that high prices and interest rates have softened economic activity in early June, and inflation is at a nearly 40-year high. Although per pupil funding trends in most states remain positive for fiscal years 2022 and 2023, a recession when pandemic relief is winding down could affect funding levels to schools. How management teams navigate budget planning and expense management during a possible downturn will be critical.

Teacher shortages and labor relations.   Teacher burnout, evidenced by lower-than-historical teacher retention rates, is a problem across the entire education sector. Labor shortages in other areas such as transportation, lunch services, and substitute teaching have also presented many operational difficulties. The seemingly fragile state of labor relations in the education sector was perhaps most evident in March 2022, when members of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers went on a three-week strike. And days before that, members of the St. Paul Federation of Educators struck a deal with St. Paul Public Schools less than an hour before the deadline to strike. Based on historical data, only about 10% of charter schools nationally are unionized, but we are monitoring any uptick in unionization efforts across the sector following two stressful years for teachers. We will also be watching the impacts of the competitive labor market, from a staffing and budgetary standpoint, should it place unsustainable upward pressure on labor costs for schools.

Midterm elections and proposed federal regulations.   This November, 36 states will hold gubernatorial elections including Arizona, California, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, and Texas, which each have more than 25 rated issuers. D.C. will also hold its mayoral election (six rated schools). State leaders play a key role in education policy and there could be implications for charter schools, either favorable or unfavorable, which we will monitor. We will continue to watch federal legislation, such as the current proposed changes to the federal Charter Schools Program grants that would, among other things, require a community impact analysis that might curtail access to federal start-up funding for charter schools in highly competitive markets or in areas with dwindling student demographics.

Return of academic testing and changing state accountability metrics.   In the past two years, state accountability scores were on hold, given the unprecedented learning environments for students across the country. Almost all the schools we rate have seen some academic slippage during the pandemic. We will keep an eye on whether states and authorizers continue to take a relative approach to these academic shortfalls or if, with the return of academic testing in spring 2022, schools will be held to a pre-pandemic standard, potentially affecting charter contracts. We have also heard of states and authorizers proposing new measures such as the social and emotional growth of students, so we will see if these new metrics are adopted in the medium term, perhaps providing some uplift to charter schools' state scores over time.

Pensions.   Although many state plans have, or will likely see, improved funded ratios for fiscal 2021 because of robust market returns, we believe current market volatility may impair fiscal 2022 funded statuses and contribute to increased contributions. Rising pension contributions can be burdensome for smaller charter schools with less operating flexibility. We will are monitoring funded ratios in California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and New Jersey, where ratios have historically been low or volatile.

Table 6

Charter School Ratios And Terms
Ratio/Term Definition
Debt per student Total debt/enrollment
Debt to capitalization (%) [Long-term debt/(unrestricted net assets + long-term debt)] x 100
EBIDA ($000s) Net income before interest, depreciation, and amortization expenses. Generally includes reconciling adjustments to account for differences in reporting under GASB and FASB standards
EBIDA margin (%) (EBIDA / total revenue) x 100
Excess margin (%) [(Total revenues - total expenses)/total revenues)] x 100
Total expense per student Total expense/enrollment
Lease-adjusted MADS burden (%) [(MADS + operating lease expense)/total revenues] x 100
Lease-adjusted MADS coverage (Net revenue available for debt service + operating lease expense)/(MADS + operating lease expense)
MADS ($000s) The greatest annual debt service, when including principal and interest payments on all obligated and non-obligated group debt, including long-term bonds, capital leases, mortgages, and bank debt. For variable-rate debt, we generally assume a 3.5% interest rate. For draws on lines of credit and commercial paper, assume the actual fixed rate or a 3.5% variable interest rate with principal payments spread over 30 years. Debt guaranteed for a third party is included at 100% if the guarantor has made any payments over the past five years, or the guaranteed entity is generating less than 1x coverage of its MADS. Variable-rate debt swapped to fixed should be run at the swap rate
State revenue per student Total state revenue reported on statement of activities/enrollment
Total revenue Total operating revenue + net nonoperating revenue
Days' unrestricted cash on hand Unrestricted reserves / [(total expenses - depreciation and amortization expense)/365)]
Unrestricted net assets as % of expense Net assets excluding any restricted items divided by total expenses. Generally includes reconciling adjustments to account for differences in reporting under GASB and FASB standards
Unrestricted reserves to debt (%) (Unrestricted reserves / total long-term debt) x 100
Unrestricted reserves Unrestricted cash, unrestricted investments, unrestricted board designated. Excluded from unrestricted reserves are debt service funds, donor restricted amounts, funds designated for pension, temporarily or permanently restricted funds, receivables, and other funds that are legally restricted. Generally included in unrestricted reserves are exceptional deferrals of state funding when we determine there has been an established record of payment in full and cash balances have been artificially suppressed at year-end
MADS--Maximum annual debt service.

Table 7

Charter School Ratings
Entity State Rating Outlook
Idea Public Schools Texas A- Negative
Peak to Peak Charter School - Prairie View, Inc. Colorado BBB+ Stable
Newark Charter School, Inc. Delaware BBB+ Stable
KIPP DC District of Columbia BBB+ Stable
Liberty Charter School, Nampa Idaho BBB+ Stable
Global Concepts Charter School New York BBB+ Stable
KIPP Texas, Inc. Texas BBB+ Stable
Center for Academic Success, Inc. Arizona BBB Stable
Aspire Public Schools California BBB Stable
KIPP Northern California Schools California BBB Stable
KIPP SoCal Public Schools California BBB Stable
Castle Rock Lifelong Learning Center Colorado BBB Stable
Classical Academy Charter School Colorado BBB Stable
James Irwin Charter Schools Colorado BBB Stable
District of Columbia International School District of Columbia BBB Stable
Friendship Public Charter School, Inc. District of Columbia BBB Stable
Inspired Teaching Demonstration Charter School District of Columbia BBB Stable
Bay Haven Charter Academy, Inc. Florida BBB Stable
Mater Academy, Inc. Florida BBB Stable
Pinecrest Academy, Inc. Florida BBB Stable
Xavier Public Charter School Idaho BBB Stable
Chicago Charter School Foundation Illinois BBB Stable
Lawndale Educational and Regional Network Charter School (LEARN) Illinois BBB Stable
Noble Network of Charter Schools Illinois BBB Stable
Star International Academy Michigan BBB Stable
TEAM Academy Charter School - Ashland School Inc. New Jersey BBB Negative
The Charter School for Applied Technologies New York BBB Stable
KIPP Nashville Tennessee BBB Stable
Harmony Public Schools Texas BBB Positive
Responsive Education Solutions Texas BBB Positive
Trinity Basin Preparatory Texas BBB Stable
American Leadership Academy Utah BBB Stable
Hawthorn Academy Utah BBB Stable
Hmong American Peace Academy Wisconsin BBB Stable
Ball Charter Schools Arizona BBB- Stable
Candeo Schools, Inc. Arizona BBB- Stable
GreatHearts Arizona Arizona BBB- Positive
Villa Montessori, Inc. Arizona BBB- Stable
Alliance Gertz Ressler Richard Merkin 6-12 Complex California BBB- Stable
Alliance Patti and Peter Neuwirth Leadership Academy California BBB- Stable
American Heritage Education Foundation California BBB- Negative
Caliber Public Schools California BBB- Stable
Classical Academy, Inc. California BBB- Stable
Coastal Academy Charter School, Inc California BBB- Stable
Granada Hills Charter Obligated Group California BBB- Positive
Green Dot Public Schools California BBB- Stable
Learning Choice Academy California BBB- Stable
Literacy First Charter School California BBB- Stable
Ben Franklin Academy Colorado BBB- Stable
Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy Colorado BBB- Negative
DCS Montessori Charter School Colorado BBB- Stable
Eagle Ridge Academy, Inc. Colorado BBB- Stable
Excel Academy Charter School Colorado BBB- Stable
Flagstaff Academy Colorado BBB- Stable
Frontier Academy Colorado BBB- Stable
Independence Academy Colorado BBB- Stable
Liberty Common Charter School Colorado BBB- Positive
Lincoln Academy Charter School Colorado BBB- Stable
New Vision Charter School Colorado BBB- Stable
North Star Academy Colorado BBB- Stable
Pinnacle Charter School Colorado BBB- Stable
Platte River Academy Charter School Colorado BBB- Stable
University Laboratory School Colorado BBB- Stable
Campus Community School Delaware BBB- Stable
First State Montessori Academy Charter School Delaware BBB- Stable
Choices in Learning Elementary Charter School Florida BBB- Stable
Cornerstone Schools Florida BBB- Stable
Doral Academy, Inc. Florida BBB- Stable
KIPP Jacksonville, Inc. Florida BBB- Stable
Manatee School for the Arts Florida BBB- Stable
Sarasota School of Arts & Sciences Florida BBB- Stable
Sculptor Charter School Florida BBB- Stable
Idaho Arts Charter School Idaho BBB- Stable
Victory Charter School Idaho BBB- Stable
Foxborough Regional Charter School Massachusetts BBB- Stable
Springfield International Charter School Massachusetts BBB- Stable
Chandler Park Academy Michigan BBB- Stable
Creative Montessori Academy Michigan BBB- Stable
Oakland International Academy Michigan BBB- Stable
Richfield Public School Academy Michigan BBB- Stable
Community of Peace Academy Minnesota BBB- Stable
Math & Science Academy Building Company Minnesota BBB- Negative
PACT Charter School Minnesota BBB- Stable
Coral Academy of Science-Las Vegas Nevada BBB- Stable
Camden Prep Inc. New Jersey BBB- Stable
Foundation Academy Charter School New Jersey BBB- Stable
North Star Academy Charter School of Newark New Jersey BBB- Stable
Academic Leadership Charter School New York BBB- Stable
Bronx Charter School for Excellence New York BBB- Positive
KIPP Albany New York BBB- Stable
KIPP NYC New York BBB- Stable
Riverhead Charter School New York BBB- Stable
Lake Norman Charter School North Carolina BBB- Stable
Mountain Island Charter School, Inc. North Carolina BBB- Stable
Pine Lake Preparatory North Carolina BBB- Stable
Triad Educational Services North Carolina BBB- Stable
Avon Grove Charter School Pennsylvania BBB- Stable
MaST Community Charter School Pennsylvania BBB- Stable
Renaissance Academy Charter School Pennsylvania BBB- Stable
School Lane Charter School Pennsylvania BBB- Stable
Freedom Preparatory Charter School Tennessee BBB- Stable
Memphis Rise Academy, Inc. Tennessee BBB- Stable
A+ Charter School, Inc Texas BBB- Stable
Arlington Classics Academy Texas BBB- Stable
Austin Achieve Public Schools Texas BBB- Stable
Braination, Inc. Texas BBB- Stable
Cityscape Schools, Inc. Texas BBB- Stable
Compass Academy Charter School, Inc. Texas BBB- Stable
Eleanor Kolitz Hebrew Language Academy Texas BBB- Stable
Golden Rule School, Inc. Texas BBB- Negative
Horizon Montessori Charter School Texas BBB- Stable
Hughen Center, Inc. (The) Texas BBB- Stable
Life School of Dallas Texas BBB- Stable
Orenda Education Texas BBB- Stable
Riverwalk Education Foundation, Inc. Texas BBB- Negative
Ser-Ninos, Inc. Texas BBB- Stable
Uplift Education Texas BBB- Stable
DaVinci Academy of Science & the Arts Utah BBB- Stable
George Washington Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Lakeview Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Legacy Preparatory Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Lincoln Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Monticello Academy Utah BBB- Negative
Mountainville Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Navigator Pointe Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Noah Webster Academy Utah BBB- Stable
North Star Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Ogden Preparatory Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Quest Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Summit Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Syracuse Arts Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Utah Charter Academies, Inc. Utah BBB- Negative
Venture Academy Utah BBB- Stable
Milwaukee Academy of Science Wisconsin BBB- Stable
Academies of Math and Science Arizona BB+ Stable
American Charter Schools Foundation Arizona BB+ Stable
Arizona Agribusiness & Equine Center, Inc. Arizona BB+ Stable
Arizona School for the Arts Arizona BB+ Stable
Freedom Academy Arizona BB+ Stable
Horizon Community Learning Center Arizona BB+ Stable
Legacy Traditional Schools Arizona BB+ Positive
Paradise Schools Arizona BB+ Stable
Vista College Preparatory Arizona BB+ Stable
Little Scholars of Arkansas (LISA) Academy Arkansas BB+ Stable
Bright Star Schools California BB+ Stable
Environmental Charter Schools California BB+ Stable
Equitas Academy Charter School California BB+ Stable
Fenton Charter Public Schools California BB+ Stable
Grimmway Schools California BB+ Stable
King Chavez Academies California BB+ Stable
Lifeline Education Charter School California BB+ Stable
New Designs Charter School California BB+ Stable
PUC Schools California BB+ Stable
Rocklin Academy California BB+ Stable
Santa Rosa Academy, Inc. California BB+ Stable
Value Schools California BB+ Stable
Community Leadership Academy Colorado BB+ Negative
Littleton Preparatory Charter School Colorado BB+ Positive
Loveland Classical Schools Colorado BB+ Stable
Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School District of Columbia BB+ Stable
Lee Montessori Public Charter School District of Columbia BB+ Stable
Palm Beach School for Autism Inc. Florida BB+ Stable
Sage International School Of Boise Idaho BB+ Stable
Acero Charter School, Inc. Illinois BB+ Stable
Paramount School Of Excellence, Inc. Indiana BB+ Stable
Advanced Technical Academy Michigan BB+ Stable
Cesar Chavez Academy Michigan BB+ Stable
Holly Academy Michigan BB+ Stable
Michigan Mathematics and Science Academy Michigan BB+ Stable
Universal Academy Michigan BB+ Stable
Universal Learning Academy Michigan BB+ Stable
Cologne Academy Minnesota BB+ Stable
Duluth Edison Charter Schools (Tischer Creek Duluth Building Co.) Minnesota BB+ Stable
Eagle Ridge Academy Minnesota BB+ Stable
Higher Ground Academy Minnesota BB+ Stable
Hmong Education Reform Company Minnesota BB+ Negative
Lakes International Language Academy Minnesota BB+ Stable
Nova Classical Academy Minnesota BB+ Stable
Parnassus Preparatory School Minnesota BB+ Positive
Spectrum High School Minnesota BB+ Stable
St Croix Preparatory Academy Minnesota BB+ Stable
Yinghua Academy Minnesota BB+ Stable
Scuola Vita Nuova Charter School Missouri BB+ Positive
Doral Academy of Nevada Nevada BB+ Stable
Explore Knowledge Foundation Nevada BB+ Stable
Pinecrest Academy of Nevada Nevada BB+ Stable
College Achieve Patterson Charter School New Jersey BB+ Stable
Great Oaks Legacy Charter School New Jersey BB+ Positive
Brighter Choice Charter Schools New York BB+ Stable
Brilla Public Charter Schools New York BB+ Stable
Public Preparatory Charter Schools Academies New York BB+ Stable
South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures & the Arts New York BB+ Negative
Tapestry Charter School New York BB+ Positive
Carolina International School North Carolina BB+ Stable
Chester Charter Scholars Academy Charter School Pennsylvania BB+ Stable
Discovery Charter School Pennsylvania BB+ Stable
First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School Pennsylvania BB+ Stable
KIPP Philadelphia Charter School Pennsylvania BB+ Stable
Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School Pennsylvania BB+ Stable
Propel Charter Schools - Braddock Hills Pennsylvania BB+ Negative
Tacony Academy Charter School Pennsylvania BB+ Stable
Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh Pennsylvania BB+ Stable
Achievement First Rhode Island Rhode Island BB+ Stable
Blackstone Valley Preperatory Academy Rhode Island BB+ Stable
Palmetto Scholars Academy South Carolina BB+ Stable
Eagle Advantage Schools, Inc. Texas BB+ Stable
Jubilee Academic Center, Inc. Texas BB+ Stable
Southwest Preparatory School Texas BB+ Stable
Wasatch Peak Academy Utah BB+ Positive
Arizona Autism Charter School Arizona BB Stable
BASIS Schools, Inc. Arizona BB Stable
Berean Academy Arizona BB Stable
Choice Academies, Inc. Arizona BB Stable
Eagle South Mountain Property Arizona BB Stable
Kaizen Education Foundation Arizona BB Stable
Noah Webster Basic Schools, Inc. Arizona BB Stable
Albert Einstein Academies California BB Stable
ICEF View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter High School California BB Stable
ICEF View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter Middle and Elementary School California BB Stable
John Adams Academies, Inc. California BB Stable
MPM Sherman Way LLC California BB Stable
Nova Academy California BB Negative
Palmdale Aerospace Academy (The) California BB Stable
River Charter Schools California BB Stable
River Springs Charter School California BB Positive
Vista Charter Public Schools - Middle School (series 2014) California BB Stable
Aspen Ridge Preparatory School Colorado BB Stable
Monument Academy Colorado BB Negative
SkyView Academy Colorado BB Stable
Twin Peaks Charter Academy Colorado BB Negative
ASPIRA of Delaware Charter Operations, Inc. Delaware BB Stable
Dayspring Academy for Education and Arts Florida BB Stable
Lee County Charter Schools Florida BB Stable
Western Academy Charter School Florida BB Stable
Compass Public Charter School Idaho BB Stable
Avondale Meadows Academy Indiana BB Stable
Alma del Mar Charter School Massachusetts BB Stable
Dr. Joseph F. Pollack Academic Center of Excellence Michigan BB Stable
Flint International Academy Michigan BB Negative
Grand Traverse Academy Michigan BB Stable
Hanley International Academy Michigan BB Stable
Landmark Academy Michigan BB Stable
Renaissance Public School Academy Michigan BB Stable
Summit Academy North Michigan BB Stable
Tipton Academy Michigan BB Stable
Trillium Academy Michigan BB Stable
Academia Cesar Chavez Minnesota BB Stable
Educational Properties TCGIS, LLC Minnesota BB Stable
Global Academy ABC Minnesota BB Stable
Hope Community Academy Minnesota BB Negative
Noble Academy Minnesota BB Stable
St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts Minnesota BB Stable
Twin Cities Academy Minnesota BB Negative
Brookside Charter School Missouri BB Stable
Mater Academy of Nevada Nevada BB Positive
Nevada Charter Academies, d/b/a Amplus Academy Nevada BB Positive
Somerset Academy of Las Vegas Nevada BB Positive
Friends of Teaneck Community Charter School New Jersey BB Stable
Albuquerque School of Excellence New Mexico BB Stable
Mission Achievement and Success Charter School New Mexico BB Stable
Albany Leadership Charter High School For Girls New York BB Stable
Charter School of Educational Excellence New York BB Stable
Tulsa Honor Academy Oklahoma BB Stable
Collegium Charter School Pennsylvania BB Stable
Green Woods Charter School Pennsylvania BB Stable
Penn Hills Charter School of Entrepreneurship Pennsylvania BB Stable
Philadelphia Electrical and Technology Charter High School Pennsylvania BB Stable
Seven Generations Charter Schools Pennsylvania BB Stable
Nova Academy Texas BB Stable
NYOS Charter Sch, Inc. Texas BB Stable
Odyssey Academy, Inc. Texas BB Stable
Texas Leadership Charter Academy Texas BB Stable
Village Tech Schools Texas BB Stable
Wayside Schools Texas BB Stable
Channing Hall Charter School Utah BB Stable
Early Light Academy Utah BB Stable
Itineris Early College High School Utah BB Stable
Ronald Wilson Reagan Academy Utah BB Stable
Edkey, Inc. Arizona BB- Stable
Odyssey Preparatory Academy Arizona BB- Positive
Pensar Academy, Inc. Arizona BB- Stable
Citizens of the World Charter Schools - Los Angeles California BB- Stable
Urban Discovery Academy California BB- Stable
Discovery Charter School Indiana BB- Stable
Detroit Service Learning Academy Michigan BB- Stable
New Branches Charter Academy Michigan BB- Stable
Old Redford Academy Michigan BB- Stable
Hennepin Schools Building Co. Minnesota BB- Stable
Kaleidoscope Charter School Minnesota BB- Stable
KIPP North Star Academy Minnesota BB- Stable
Prairie Seeds Academy Minnesota BB- Stable
Woodbury Leadership Academy Minnesota BB- Stable
Founders Academy of Las Vegas Nevada BB- Stable
LEAP Academy University Charter School New Jersey BB- Stable
Paterson Charter School for Science & Technology New Jersey BB- Positive
Global Leadership Academy Charter School Pennsylvania BB- Stable
West Philadelphia Achievement Charter Elementary School Pennsylvania BB- Negative
A.W. Brown Fellowship Charter School Texas BB- Negative
Universal Academy (LTTS Charter School, Inc.) Texas BB- Stable
Winfree Academy Charter Schools Texas BB- Stable
Julian Charter School California B+ Stable
21st Century Charter School Indiana B+ Stable
Crossroads Charter Academy Michigan B+ Stable
Evolution Academy Charter School Texas B+ Stable
Pointe Schools Arizona B Stable
Conner Creek Academy East Michigan B Stable
Saginaw Preparatory Academy Michigan B Stable
Voyageur Academy Michigan B Stable
High School for Recording Arts Minnesota B Stable
New Millennium Academy Minnesota B Stable
River Heights Academy Michigan B- Negative
Plymouth Educational Center Charter Sch Michigan D N.M.
As of June 6, 2022. N.M.--Not meaningful.

This report does not constitute a rating action.

Primary Credit Analysts:Mikayla Mahan, Centennial 303-217-1612;
Jesse J Brady, New York + 1 (212) 4387944;
Secondary Contacts:Jessica L Wood, Chicago + 1 (312) 233 7004;
Avani K Parikh, New York + 1 (212) 438 1133;
Research Contributors:Yash Chandak, CRISIL Global Analytical Center, an S&P affiliate, Pune
John Miceli, Dallas +1 2148711471;

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