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“Good News” for Religious Schools

February 5, 2016

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Thomas P. Martin

There is good news for religiously-affiliated organizations on the financing front. On September 16, 2002, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office granted its approval of Michigan Strategic Fund (“MSF”) revenue bond financing for the costs of land acquisition and construction of a new 73,100 sq. ft. school facility for our client, Washtenaw Christian Academy, in Washtenaw County.

This approval permits the use of low cost tax-free revenue bond financing (average rate in 2015 of 0.40%) for religious schools and organizations located in Michigan even those which are deemed to be “pervasively sectarian” (ones in which the religious orientation is inseparable from the secular educational content). Until the ruling by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Steele v. Industrial Development Board of Metropolitan Government of Nashville, et al and the Attorney General’s approval, the ability to use this kind of financing for many religious schools (those considered “pervasively sectarian”) was in doubt. Dean & Fulkerson’s Economic Development Practice Group was instrumental in working with the Attorney General’s Office and the MSF to obtain the approval.

Revenue bond financing is the most cost-effective method for financing capital expenditures for land, building and equipment. Many of our clients are alumni/ae, parents of alumni/ae, or current students of religiously-affiliated schools. Please share this “good news” with your alma mater and/or child’s school. We are willing and able to assist those schools with the financing of their projects.