Knowledge Academies Inc. (KA) in Antioch, Tenn. reached a milestone recently with the sale of $26.8 million in bonds to help fund the school’s vision of hands-on, collaborative learning for the whole family.
BB&T Capital Markets closed on the bonds Nov. 16. Proceeds will provide funding for the public network of schools that commenced operations in 2012 and expects to enroll more than 1,100 students by 2019.
All of the bonds were funded using private dollars, representing a true public-private partnership. They were purchased, in a limited public offering, by Nuveen, which currently manages $900 billion in assets, combining the knowledge and expertise of two, 100-year old investment firms.
KA serves students and families on one campus, and holds three separate public charter agreements with Metro Nashville Public Schools. The 140,000-square-foot facility at 5320 Hickory Hollow Parkway is a former Best Buy.
According to BB&T, KA’s founder and president, Art Fuller, thanked the financial holding company for accelerating the school’s vision, mission and journey.
“Twelve months ago, the idea of long-term financing was not on our organization’s radar,” said Fuller. “As we successfully complete this financing, a sound future of our community is being secured.”
KA relies on the premise that children learn better when family members, business leaders and community partners involve themselves hands-on in student education. KA is using all sorts of methods to encourage participation, such as health and career fairs, and plans to launch a new outdoor learning program in 2018.
While engaging parents and other family members, KA enlists businesses and colleges to demonstrate students are preparing for the real world in a classroom. Partners provide funding, talent, and job and instructional opportunities to students. The school’s youngest students are in fifth grade, and the first graduating class will be in 2019.
About 90 percent of KA students are eligible for free and reduced price lunch. Enrollment is open to anyone who lives in Davidson County.