NYC schools get soaked on rent

April 30, 2012 11:30AM

A for-profit Michigan-based company that leases buildings to charter schools in Brooklyn is under fire for charging exorbitant rents, the New York Post reported. National Heritage Academies subleases to the charter schools it operates for between $38 to $45 per square foot, sources told the Post, but the New York City Department of Education pays between $5 and $25 per foot for the spaces it leases.

For instance, National Heritage charged the Brooklyn Dreams Charter School, on Parkville Avenue in Kensington, $2.76 million for rent and related charges last year, despite the fact that it paid only $264,000 per year to lease the space from the Brooklyn Diocese.

“Rents are negotiated by NHA and the school boards that choose NHA as its management partner,” said Joe DiBenedetto, a spokesperson for National Heritage. “NHA assumes all financial risks, makes needed investments to improve academic results, and typically waits up to 10 years to recoup its initial investment in a school it operates.

“The school is great, but I can’t see why they pay such a high rate — it’s ridiculous,’’ Brooklyn Dreams parent Les Fontain told the Post. [Post]