Kirton McConkie is widely considered the premier charter school borrower’s counsel law firm in the western United States, having experience representing over 70 different charter schools in four different states who have borrowed over $1.1 billion dollars, resulting in lower facility costs for over 50,000 students.
Kirton McConkie has represented charter schools on a wide variety of tax-exempt bond financings with all types of credit ratings. Our firm successfully helped every charter school who earned an investment grade rating from a rating agency obtain any available credit enhancement from their issuer. Our firm attorneys have represented over 60 charter schools on their initial lease, which paves the way for the school’s long-term success and the ability to purchase their facility on reasonable terms.
Kirton McConkie brings substantially more resources to the table than most firms who compete in the borrower’s counsel space for charter schools. Such experience has frequently allowed our charter school clients to save millions of dollars on individual transactions, since our firm knows how to effectively represent a charter school against a landlord, local city, authorizer, issuer, lender or the bond markets in ways that create a “win-win” for both sides. In addition, our firm brings unequalled legal experience in the nonprofit, public education and real estate sectors that allows us to more effectively analyze and resolve issues that can prevent a successful financing.
Kirton McConkie’s charter school group is led by Joel Wright, who previously served on the Utah State Charter School Board, the Utah State Board of Education and the Utah Board of Regents over Higher Education, giving him a strong understanding of the crucial importance that effective public education plays in our society. He welcomes a chance to meet and discuss the short- and long-term goals of any charter school at your convenience.
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.
- 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
News & Events
- Press Release, 07.06.2018
- Press Release, 11.27.2012
- Charterology, Fall 2013