Elite private schools selling debt to build flashy amenities

“Ivy League stepping stones” adding pools, upgrading properties
May 22, 2015 11:30AM

New York City’s private schools are selling debt at the fastest rate in over a decade to get the edge on the competition and attract students with state-of-the-art facilities.

Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn and La Scuola d’Italia Guglielmo Marconi near Central Park are planning to sell almost $150 million of bonds combined to fund projects like a new six-lane pool and musical ensemble rooms, Bloomberg News reported.

“It exactly parallels what is happening with colleges,” said Emily Glickman, a private school admissions consultant. American Universities have borrowed over $250 billion in the municipal market over the last decade to upgrade facilities and attract high-paying students.

Ethical Culture Fieldston School sold $49.4 million in debt on May 1 to build “makerspaces,” laboratory-like workshops. Saint Ann’s, in Brooklyn Heights, plans to issue $30 million in bonds to upgrade its main building and two townhouses across the street.

The borrowing is a benefit to the city, generating millions in tax revenue. [Bloomberg News] — Tess Hofmann