Attorneys in Ballard Spahr’s Public Finance Department served as bond counsel in the issuance of $34.6 million in tax-exempt bonds that will enable a Wilmington charter school to grow into a K-12 campus. The transaction, which will fund the expansion without taxpayer dollars, closed yesterday.

The Odyssey Charter School project involves the purchase and renovation of buildings on 35 acres of the Barley Mill Plaza office park. Opened in 2006, Odyssey provides students with a classical education through a curriculum centered around mathematics and the Greek language. The school currently enrolls students in grades K-7 but is gradually expanding to a full K-12 school.

“Tax-exempt bond financing is a critical resource for charter schools,” said Ballard Spahr partner Emilie R. Ninan, who oversees the firm’s Delaware public finance practice and is the Managing Partner in its Wilmington office. “Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools in Delaware don’t receive separate government funding for construction or other capital needs. We’re pleased that we could help craft a creative financing method that will support education innovation in Delaware.”

The 501(c)(3) bonds were issued through The Delaware Economic Development Authority (DEDA), an entity under the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) that provides statewide financial assistance to new or expanding businesses, governmental units, and certain tax-exempt organizations. DEDA does not guarantee the bonds, and they are not backed by the full faith and credit of the State of Delaware.

Said William C. Rhodes, Chair of Ballard Spahr’s Public Finance Department: “Ballard Spahr has a long history of advising issuers in financings benefiting independent, parochial, and charter schools across the nation. Odyssey will be well-positioned to move into a permanent home as a result of this transaction.”

“Quality of education can have an impact on a company’s decision to move Delaware, and it can help keep existing businesses here. As such we were more than happy to facilitate the issuance of this tax-exempt financing for Odyssey Charter School,” said Alan Levin, Director of the DEDO. “This project also ensures that the Barley Mill property will be put to good use: the expansion of one of Delaware’s finer schools.”

In more than 90 transactions over the past decade, Ballard Spahr has helped charter schools in Arizona, California, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey, New Mexico, Utah, and Wisconsin secure more than $970 million in tax-exempt financing. In Delaware, the firm has played a role in the issuance of numerous tax-exempt bonds for charter schools including Newark Charter School, Delaware Military Academy, Providence Creek Academy, Delaware College Preparatory Academy, and Campus Community School.

Ballard Spahr has one of the premier public finance practices in the country, participating since 1987 in the issuance of more than $300 billion of tax-exempt obligations in all states, the District of Columbia, and American territories.

Related Practices

Public Finance
Independent, Parochial and Charter School Financings