RCS capital campaign coming to an end

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Roxboro Community School is nearing the end of Raise the Roof, the school’s $1.6 million capital campaign.

School officials have been collecting pledges for the last five years and December marks the end of the period in which most donors are to have completed their gifts.

So far, the school has collected $1.56 million of the $1.66 million pledged. Outstanding pledges total $98,946.

School officials also received some donations to the program after the fundraising period ended. Those donations will continue to be collected through 2021.

While all schools – both traditional and public charter schools – have fundraisers of one kind or another, the state’s charter schools don’t get funding to build capital projects. The money for that must come through other means such as loans and capital campaigns like Raise the Roof. However, the school is able to use its allocated funds from the state to pay the debt service on loans for capital expenditures.

The school used the money, along with a loan, to finance the construction of the school’s gymnasium and multi-purpose room. The funds also helped pay for the student parking lot.

The 94 percent collection rate is much better than consultants told the school to expect when they began the process. According to RCS’ public information officer Phyliss Boatwright, those consultants said the school should expect as much as a 12 percent non-payment rate.

The $1.6 million in pledges comes in a host of forms. While most of that money is in cash, some donors provided in-kind donations, totaling almost $325,000. Others donated land which the school was able to sell and keep the proceeds. The board’s finance committee is working to sell a couple of remaining parcels. The land was valued at $134,000. One donor even pledged artwork to the school. That was appraised at $6,300.

The money pledged through the capital campaign is only a portion of the cost of those improvements. The RCS Board of Directors is working to raise the money to meet ongoing debt obligations. At a board meeting earlier this month, the board’s finance committee recommended restructuring some investments to get a higher interest rate.

Once RCS puts the finishing touches on the Raise the Roof campaign, Managing Executive Director Dave Ebert says the school will have to turn its attention elsewhere.

“Once we finish Raise the Roof, we will look at other fundraisers,” Ebert said.

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