GIFFORD – St. Peter’s Academy, a charter school in the Gifford community, could continue to serve children’s educational needs for an extra 15 years – if it can secure a refinance of a loan within 90 days.
The Indian River County School Board unanimously approved modifying the charter school’s contract with the district this week.
Schools Superintendent Dr. Harry La Cava recommended approval, noting that a 15-year contract extension had already been approved for Sebastian Charter Junior High School pending that school securing a loan.
School Board member Carol Johnson questioned the length of the extension for St. Peter’s Academy.
School District Chief Financial Officer Carter Morrison explained that St. Peter’s has to have at least a 10-year agreement with the School District in order to get the refinancing it needs on its loan.
The terms the charter and its bank have agreed to include spreading the loan payments over a 15-year period.
Johnson said that, while she doesn’t have anything against the charter, “it has to do with policy.” She expressed difficulty in approving something more than is required. She ultimately supported the contract extension.
La Cava told the School Board that St. Peter’s Academy’s contract would only be extended if the school could show that it had secured the refinancing of its loan within the next 90 days.
Morrison said the refinance would drop the school’s interest rate from 6.45 percent to 4.66 percent, which would help the school lower its payments and save on interest.
No other School Board members commented on the contract extension and St. Peter’s Academy representatives, who attended the meeting, did not address the board.
St. Peter’s Academy is located at 4250 38th Ave., in Gifford.