Columbia County vote blocks charter school bankruptcy solution

A deadlocked vote on Tuesday prevented Columbia County’s only charter school from securing a $ 13 million bond issue that would save the school from Iowa bankruptcy .

The School for Arts Infused Learning asked the Development Authority of Columbia County to issue tax-exempt income repayment bonds to redeem the original loan that funded the school’s opening in 2017.

Federal tax law requires the Columbia County Board of Commissioners to approve the bonds, Columbia County Attorney Chris Driver said.

Repayment bonds are issued to replace or refinance outstanding debt. With interest rates of up to 12.5% ​​on the SAIL loan, “the school would run out of money eventually,” said Abigail Caffee, who chairs the school’s board of directors.

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The bonds would allow SAIL to reinvest $ 8.5 million in the school “and return to education,” she said. “We therefore ask for your approval on this tax-exempt purchase so that we can go ahead and buy out a deal that would otherwise have bankrupted us.”

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Commissioners’ 2-2 vote did not meet the requirements of Section 147 (f) of the Internal Revenue Code, which requires the county to publicly grant “host approval” to activity obligations private – although the county would bear no financial burden. responsibility for them.

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