NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

P.A.V.E. Loan Assistance for Milwaukee Choice Schools

October 12, 2001

A program offering low-income families publicly funded vouchers to pay for tuition in private schools began a decade ago in Milwaukee, Wis. But one of the greatest problems faced by these choice schools -- and charter schools, which are independently operated public schools that receive operating funds (but not funding for construction) from taxpayers -- has been financing the capital expenditures necessary to accommodate their growth.

Now a nonprofit organization that supports school choice plans to raise $40 million over five years to help central city schools in Milwaukee expand and renovate their facilities so that they can serve more of the poorest families.

  • Partners Advancing Values in Education (PAVE) will team up with banks and others to offer low-interest loans to choice and charter schools for building improvements.
  • PAVE will partner with financial institutions to "leverage" an equal amount of private investment.
  • The low-rate loans also will be available to private schools that partner with neighborhood Milwaukee Public Schools to share classroom space and other facilities.

The PAVE loan program is believed to be the first of its kind in the United States to focus on central city schools, officials said.

The Bradley Foundation is pledging up to $20 million over five years to the loan fund - and plans to raise the same amount in matching grants from financial institutions over the same period, nearly doubling the amount the foundation has awarded in support of parental choice in the past, and the largest award made since the foundation's inception in 1985.

Source: Mike Johnson, "$40 million offered for school loans," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Oct. 10, 2001.


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