NYC charter schools could lose free rent under de Blasio

October 09, 2013 03:15PM

Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio’s likely ascension to Gracie Mansion has New York City’s 183 charter schools spooked that their free rent may soon come to an end.

While de Blasio has arranged meetings with charter school advocates in recent weeks in an effort to convince them he will not drive their schools from the city, he has been unapologetic about his view that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s focus on charter schools has been to the detriment of their public counterparts.

“I won’t favor charters,” De Blasio told the New York Times after a conference in Lower Manhattan. “Our central focus is traditional public schools.”

The specifics of de Blasio’s charter school plan are not clear as of yet, so the extent of the potential damage of suddenly charging rent is yet unknown. The mayoral frontrunner has not said how much he would charge, saying only that schools with the fewest resources would pay the least.

Currently, roughly two-thirds of the city’s charter schools are housed within public school buildings, and the estimated value of the free space is around $2,400 per student, in addition to the more than $13,000 in other public support charter schools receive for each pupil.

As the schools do not have leases within their public school locales, a setup de Blasio has criticized, they have no legal protection from being charged to use city space.

Should charter schools be priced out of their current free digs, there is no word as of yet on where they would go. [NYT]Julie Strickland