Kirton McConkie is the leading law firm in the western United States for charter schools, with experience representing over 50 different charter schools in multiple states. While the firm handles a range of legal needs for charter schools, it is heavily focused on the leasing, purchasing and financing charter school facilities. Firm attorneys have represented schools on 40 separate financings raising over $500 million.
Our wealth of experience benefits charter school clients by providing the most thorough, efficient and cost-effective strategies and options, letting you devote more time, energy and resources to your students.
Kirton McConkie attorneys serving charter schools know the industry inside and out from a legal perspective and first-hand as parents of charter school students.
Key Charter School Services
- Leasing: A charter schools must get the best rate and the best location possible for sustainable success. As specialists, we guide you through all the possibilities before settling on the most competitive option for your present and future situations.
- Purchasing: Once a charter school has proven it can attract and retain students, it is in a good position to buy the facility and reduce monthly payments being paid on the facility. Our attorneys insure you pay an “arm’s length” purchase price that is affordable and sustainable, allowing your school to grow in the future.
- Financing: Through our experiences raising over $367 million in 40 financings for charter schools, we have developed strong working relationships with all the primary underwriters and financial advisors to charter schools in the western U.S.
We have successfully represented charter schools on dozens of tax-exempt bond deals and, very importantly, pioneered the use of USDA and New Markets Tax Credit financing for eligible schools, saving our clients millions of dollars by avoiding current market interest rates in the tax exempt bond market. Kirton McConkie is listed in The Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace (commonly referred to as the “Red Book”).
- Refinancing: A common mistake many charter schools make is choosing legal representation by counsel who are not well versed with the terms and conditions in the original loan documents. Often times charter schools are prevented from negotiating a refinance on more favorable terms or obtaining additional financing to expand. Our attorneys understand how to get the best terms possible so your initial purchase puts you in an optimal position for long term growth and success.
All aspects of charter school law
- Charter Application (new charter, expansion, satellite or subdivision): Our attorneys have represented dozens of schools on this process and understand how to best structure the charter to meet your needs, as well as optimize your ability to grow and obtain financing.
- Separation of Church and State: We have represented charter schools on issues related to release time for attendance at the seminary taught by difference religious groups and use of the school’s facility by religious groups.
- Open Meeting Act Compliance: We provide counsel on how this law applies to your school.
- Nonprofit Law: The firm has dozens of clients for whom we have drafted articles of incorporation and bylaws complying with state and federal requirements and meeting school missions under their charters.
- 501(c)(3) Application and Federal Tax Law: Our attorneys have worked with dozens of charter schools on their 501(c)(3) applications, including successfully representing schools when applications are challenged by the IRS.
- Open Records Act: As public schools, charter schools are subject to open records and must understand what records are subject to the applicable laws, and which are not.
- Foreign Exchange Students: Many charter schools have benefited from accepting foreign exchange students and charging them tuition, but need to do so within the applicable laws.
- Contracts for Business Management Services: The IRS has provided a series of requirements charter schools must meet to retain 501(c)(3) status when entering into contracts with for-profit management companies. Our attorneys can provide valuable counsel in this area.
- Conflicts of Interest: It is inevitable your school will encounter one or more conflicts of interest. Relying on the skilled legal advisors at Kirton McConkie, you can learn to navigate how conflicts are handled and disclosed as required by law.
- Cell Phone Towers: The opportunity to locate a cell phone tower on your school’s property is a little known financial benefit. We have substantial experience negotiating cell phone tower contracts on behalf of public schools.
- Building Use Policy: Many charter schools find it beneficial to host community events at their school, however, it is critical these events comply with applicable provisions in your lease or loan documents, as well as insurance requirements.
- Fiduciary Duty of Board and Liability: Board members have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of their schools. On major decisions, it is prudent for a school to consult with an attorney on the legal nuances of what this really means.
- Online education: As legal counsel for the largest online charter school in Utah, our attorneys are well aware of the multiple legal issues facing this type of school as well as the ability of traditional charter schools to offer educational opportunities online.
- Retirement Plans Legal Compliance: We actively advise several charter schools on the federal and state requirements of retirement plans, including advising those notified they were not in compliance.
- Insurance Requirements:Most charter schools are subject to some form of governmental immunity and it is critical to take advantage of this when negotiating or purchasing insurance.
Charter School Affiliations
- Member, Public Charter School Attorney Association
- Member, Utah Association of Public Charter Schools
Articles & White Papers
- Fall 2013Charterology
- November 27, 2012Press Release