$23 million KIPP charter school bond cleared by City Council

The money will pay for a proposed elementary school on Golfair Boulevard and refinance other debt.

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Jacksonville Alliance for KIPP Schools Inc. will receive $23 million in bond financing through the city to pay for construction of an elementary school on Golfair Boulevard and to refinance existing debt. 

City Council voted 18-0 on Nov. 24 to approve the Florida Educational Facilities Revenue Bonds to finance the new Voice Elementary School, a 900-student charter school.

According to a legislative fact sheet filed with Ordinance 2020-0627, the city is acting as a pass-through bonding agent and has no financial obligation in the deal.

KIPP Jacksonville Inc. will lease 8 acres at 813 Golfair Blvd. from the Jacksonville Transportation Authority to build the $15 million, 73,500-square-foot school through Summit Construction Management Group, according to bill documents.

The JTA built a First Coast Flyer bus stop at the site and declared the remainder of the vacant, 8-acre parcel as surplus property in June.

“It’s part of our 2025 strategic plan. We are committed to offering high-quality education options to families in Northwest Jacksonville,” Kipp spokeswoman Lize Pierre said in August.

KIPP’s lease with JTA has an initial 42-year term with a 40-year renewal option.

The charter school organization has two campuses in Jacksonville: an elementary school at 2525 W. First St. and an elementary and middle school at 1440 McDuff Ave. N.

KIPP plans to open a high school at the McDuff Avenue site for the 2021-22 school year, according to the city. Growth has caused KIPP to move both its Voice Elementary and Impact Middle schools to their own facilities.

The remaining bond funds will be used to refinance outstanding debt from the two schools, the city fact sheet states. 

The site is assessed at about $651,000 according to the Duval County Property Appraiser.

Council President Tommy Hazouri was absent from the vote Nov. 24. The bill is waiting for Mayor Lenny Curry’s signature.

Associate Editor Max Marbut contributed to this report.