For Immediate Release
August 19th 2015
Contact: Jim Croswell
International Leadership Of Texas
New Charter School Issues $111 Million in Bonds
International Leadership of Texas (“ILTexas”) is a pioneering charter school district that has attracted much attention. ILTexas has exploded in growth in the recent years with indications of only going faster from here. This is enough to attract anyone’s attention, but what has everyone talking is that ILTexas issued $111 million in non rated bonds this month.
The ILTexas school district opened its doors to 2,500 students for the first time in August 2013, and it will now serve approximately 5,176 students in its third year, while currently holding over 6,000 students on wait lists. Within the next year, ILTexas will have SIX groundbreaking ceremonies for its new campuses opening in Arlington, Keller, and Katy, TX.
Many people are asking how a charter school with only two years of operating history is able to borrow over $100 million in the bond market. The short answer is that the unprecedented enrollment growth, combined with solid academic and financial performance, provided access to the capital markets much sooner than conventional wisdom.
The bonds were issued through the Clifton Higher Education Finance Corporation and were sold by bond underwriter, BB&T Capital Markets, to several investors. ILTexas' Financial Advisor, Drew Masterson with First Southwest Company said, "We have never seen another charter school go from 0 to over 4,500 students in two years.”
Two of the fourteen institutional investors who participated in the bonds had never invested in non-rated charter school bonds before ILTexas. Most of the investors toured the campuses and / or met with the leadership team before deciding to invest.
Paula Permenter, Managing Director, BB&T Capital Markets informed us “We received consistently positive feedback from institutional investors that they were impressed with the management team and the incredible demand created for the IL Texas program in a short period of time.”
One of the things that makes ILTexas unique is the mandatory seven core classes instead of the usual four. Where the typical education systems require Math, Science, History and English Language, ILTexas includes Spanish Language, Chinese Language and Athletic Conditioning. These seven classes are required every year, and by the time students receive a diploma, all students are expected to be fluent in English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese.
Additionally, in order to further its education vision, ILTexas has partnered with several high schools, or “sister schools”, in China and has developed a promising international student program. Currently, 55 Chinese students live on-campus in new dorms and study in class alongside American high school students, directly interacting and developing long-term professional relationships.
ILTexas is the brainchild of its founder and Superintendent, Eddie Conger, a retired Marine Corps Infantry officer. His leadership team was successful in turning around Thomas Jefferson (TJ) High School in Dallas ISD. In four years, he increased the graduation rate from 50% in 2008 to over 80% in 2012 as reported by the Dallas Morning News.
“What we as a team have been able to accomplish in less than 24 months at ILTexas is absolutely incredible and clearly unprecedented.” Conger said, “What makes this bond sale so very important to me is that it helps us lower our costs, which allows us to return some of that savings back to our teachers who serve our most important people, the students and their families.”
The expansion of their facilities in Arlington, Keller and Katy will again be funded with leases from the Charter School Fund. They hope to issue bonds to acquire those facilities once those schools are up and running. This growth is incredible considering last year, 44% of their student population was considered economically disadvantaged, and they are making this growth possible without charging a dime in tuition.
“Every charter school transaction has a unique story and this was one that investors were very interested to hear. Pricing day ran smoothly indicating how much confidence investors placed in the management team and the ILTexas program.” -Paula Permenter.
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