SODA plans on finding school site

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The School of Dreams Academy Governing Council has been planning to expand the school facility, or find a suitable building site for more than a year.

In a special meeting last week, the council authorized the nonprofit School of Dreams Education Foundation, a separate entity, to pursue acquisition of land.

The council authorized the foundation to contract with Advanced Environmental Solutions, Surv Tec, Inc., and Accelerated Construction Technologies to survey a couple different parcels of property for a possible school site.

The companies will perform a number of surveys, including soil and topographical surveys, as well as an American Land Title Association survey to see if there are any liens, easements, right-of-ways or other elements impacting the properties that could potentially impede the structure or interests of the school.

Since the school's inception nearly four years ago, it was always in the plans to create a nonprofit foundation to help the school get into a long term lease-purchase agreement to secure a permanent facility, said Mike Ogas, SODA principal and co-founder.

"The state implemented a 2015 deadline, that all (public) charters need to be in state-operated facilities," Ogas said. "So, there's this looming 2015 deadline."

The school's choices include leasing a state or federal building, leasing a public school building, or, since state law prohibits public charter schools from entering into debt, the school could enter a long term lease-purchase agreement with a nonprofit organization.

To that end, the School of Dreams Education Foundation was created and a board of trustees established.

The board includes Ogas, Kerra Howe, programs coordinator; and Eric Brown, the dean of education.

"As a nonprofit in New Mexico, the foundation is legally in place to do business," said Ogas.

The foundation is consulting with Dougherty & Company LLC, a financial services firm that has worked with other charter schools gathering the proper documents in enrollment, finances, programs and other information investors will want to review before deciding on financing the property and new school facility.

Acceleration Construction Technologies is the group that will help plan a school facility, and once a site has been narrowed down, they would help determine how the actual buildings would sit on the site, Ogas said.

The School of Dreams Education Foundation would own the school property and buildings, and after about 30 or 40 years when the annual lease-purchase agreement was fulfilled, the school would then assume ownership.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.