Uplift Education Chief Financial Officer Bill Mays testified in support of expanding access to the Permanent School Fund bond guarantee along with other charter leaders in front of Texas State Board of Education committee. This was the first read of the proposed guidelines which should be finalized in January.
Like many other public charter schools that do not receive facilities funding from the state, Uplift relies on the bond market for financing. Mr. Mays said that expanding access to the PSF bond guarantee would have positive effects for Uplift.
“With access to the PSF bond guarantee, we will be able to direct enormous savings back into our classrooms and away from bondholders. As a result of this new law, our board intends to issue $60 million in new money bonds next year. Under the PSF guarantee, this bond will be $600,000 cheaper a year than if we issued it without the guarantee,” he explained.
With the savings, Mr. Mays said Uplift will be able to directly impact students and teachers by allowing for continued growth and expansion to serve the more than 17,000 children on the network’s wait list. Uplift will also direct savings to its performance-based pay program for our teachers and all other employees. Additionally, funds will also be used to purchase supplies for the STEM program.
“Not only as a CFO—but as a personal advocate for high-quality public school options for Texas families—it is exciting to be able to spend our stretched dollars on outcomes for kids, rather than on debt service,” Mr. Mays said.
Uplift currently carries an investment bond rating of BBB-. With its next bond sale under the bond guarantee, that rating will go to AAA, which is the State of Texas’ rating. Mr. Mays said for new financing, that move could represent a saving of 1-2 percentage points over Uplift’s current rates.