The Dallas City Council last week approved a request by Uplift Education for up to $90 million of tax-exempt bonds to build new charter public schools in Dallas and Fort Worth.

The first tranche is expected to total $83 million, including $15 million of federally subsidized qualified school construction bonds.

The bonds will be issued by the North Texas Education Finance Corp., which the city established in February. The negotiated sale is set for April 19. The underwriter is Robert W. Baird & Co. 

Uplift’s most recent bond sale was $56.8 million in 2010 through the Clifton Higher Education Finance Corp.

Uplift’s outstanding debt over five sales since 2000 includes $25 million of revenue bonds issued by the Beasley Higher Education Finance Corp. and the Texas Public Finance Authority Charter School Finance Corp. The revenue debt is rated Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Service. Uplift also has $69.8 million of unrated parity debt.

Uplift was the first public charter school network in Texas to be rated investment grade by Moody’s. It operates 20 charter public college-prep schools in north Texas.

The bonds are supported by Uplift’s gross revenues, which include donations and a per-student stipend from the state. The school does not charge tuition.

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