True North had funding but needed the know-how to make the dream classical school come true. Building Hope Services and the Charter School Support Unit stepped up to share their expertise.
“Building Hope went above and beyond to get us launched and they’ve been able to accommodate our needs and give us insights every step of the way.”
~ Michael Bileca ~
True North Schools
True North was the culmination of Michael Bileca’s dreams. The Miami public charter school would focus on a classical, direct-instruction educational model and build character and virtue in its students. Bileca was a former Florida state legislator with education policy expertise. His family’s foundation made a sizeable donation to provide initial funding. The academic parameters were in place by 2015 but Bileca needed a partner that understood financing options and the unique administrative needs of charter schools.
“Building Hope was introduced to me very early on as a resource that could help us out,” said Bileca. “They’ve done just that from the beginning.”
Building Hope began its partnership with True North by helping shape its charter application. Upon approval, Building Hope’s team of expert real estate and finance professionals negotiated the school’s lease at an existing facility – a former private school once owned by a neighboring church. The property’s updates and structural upgrades had to happen quickly.
“We got our facility seven weeks before school was opening,” Bileca said. “And the renovation happened in six weeks.”
Bileca said he was impressed with Building Hope’s management of the on-schedule renovation project, but he was even more grateful for the Chart Support Unit’s (CSU) help. CSU embedded an administrative employee on True North’s team for a full month before its opening.
The CSU team member helped True North order curriculum, books and even purchase furniture. They also facilitated protocols for recruiting a head of school.
With the support of Building Hope, True North has become one of the highest performing schools in the state, ranking 19 out of nearly 2,200 in 2018. The school quickly grew to support its 550-student capacity. Building Hope has since helped True North by securing financing for, and managing construction of, two new buildings – a gym and education center. The additional space opened additional student seats for the beginning of the 2020 school year.
Building Hope continues to attract investors to True North, ensuring the school’s long-term success. The Building Hope Services team also provides ongoing administrative support for the school, allowing educators to spend their time focusing on students.