Sims Underwrites $6.7 Million Bond Issue
“I can’t properly express my gratitude and appreciation to HJ Sims. The team’s determination and commitment to getting Harambee through what must have been THE most unusual and challenging finance deal was amazing. I was generally familiar with public financing from my terms on the School Reform Commission, but I was not prepared for the nearly three-year roller coaster ride of our transaction. Through it all, HJ Sims was a steadfast coach, cheerleader, and task master. The Harambee board, staff, and families send a resounding “ASANTE SANA (Thank you)” to HJ Sims, Rodney Jones and the entire professional team for making us the proud owners of our facility.”
– Sandra Dungee Glenn, Chief Executive Officer, Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School
The Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School, (the “Academy”), located in Philadelphia, PA, is a charter school authorized by the School District of Philadelphia. The Academy is governed by a volunteer board of trustees. The school is in its twentieth year of operations and currently serves 532 in grades K-8. The Academy attracts a large majority of its students from the School District of Philadelphia, but also draws students within a 10-mile radius of the Academy.
Based upon Sims’ commitment to its borrowers and its attitude of perseverance, the Academy engaged HJ Sims to finance its currently leased facility. Sims worked with the Academy to achieve the following strategic objectives:
- Provide funds to help Harambee (the first African-centered Charter School in Pennsylvania) own its own facility, eliminating the uncertainty of future adjustments to its lease;
- Provide additional $500,000+ for improvements to the facility and reimburse the Academy for costs previously incurred that were related to the project, thus improving the facility and its balance sheet at the same time;
- Achieve debt service approximately equal to the Academy’s lease payments – over the course of time, ownership of the facility provides the Academy the opportunity to put more money in its classrooms.
Sims achieved the Academy’s strategic objectives by producing and evaluating multiple financing scenarios, including short-term loans with interest rate resets. Based upon the Academy’s objectives, it elected to move forward with a 35-year, fixed-rate bond issue.
Sims was successful in marketing and selling the bonds, without institutional participation, to its private client investors. Sims successfully provided 100% financing in the amount of $6,670,000 in April 2017, requiring no equity from the Academy. Sims’ ability to access this capital sector enabled the Academy to meet its strategic objectives while providing it with financing to acquire and make $500,000 of improvements and reimbursements to the facility. Important to the Academy was to keep its new debt service approximately equal to previous lease payments and the financing achieved this objective. The Academy’s ability to secure long-term, fixed rate financing has positioned it to continue its mission as the first African-centered Charter School in Pennsylvania.
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