School Facilities

Since the enactment of Minnesota's charter school law in 1991, facilities access, funding and ownership has been an ongoing source of debate, concern and frustration both for public policymakers and for charter school boards and administrators.

On the one hand, Minnesota law does not allow charter schools to own facilities if public funds are used to purchase it; on the other, charter schools have often been prohibited from leasing space in vacant, publicly paid-for buildings owned by local school districts. In terms of funding for facilities, the state does provide "lease aid," but the formula is designed to the landlords' advantage.

In order to provide safe, healthy and utilitarian spaces conducive to the learning program of the school in a politically-charged environment and in a limited marketplace of space zoned for schools, some charter schools have developed affiliated building companies as a way of meeting their facility needs. These affiliated building companies were recognized in statute in 2009.