Specialty firms sprout to support charter school start-ups

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The rapid expansion of North Carolina’s charter schools is pushing the startup schools toward specialty finance companies that find funding to acquire buildings, a network of companies and consultants that run the schools and even a flow of Chinese investment funds.

The Charlotte Observer reports (http://bit.ly/29hIUGp) the result is that taxpayer money flows to entities across the country and around the world to repay debts and cover outsourced services.

Charters are public schools free of many restrictions facing other taxpayer-funded schools because they agree to target a particular student population.

Chinese funding reached Thunderbird Preparatory Academy in Cornelius through the EB-5 visa program. The little-known federal program provides visas to wealthy foreign investors in return for their investments in U.S. projects.

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Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

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