The Real Deal New York

Charter schools should pay rent, de Blasio says

January 14, 2014 12:03PM

Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to charge rent to some charter schools, spurring concerns from school operators and parents that some institutions will close.

Roughly two-thirds of the city’s charter schools are housed within public school buildings, and the free rent amounts to a subsidy of around $100 million per year citywide, according to data from the city’s Independent Budget Office, published reports show.

Still, the proposition has inflamed some charter school parents.

“If they charge rent and it ends up closing the schools, what are they going to do for these kids?” asked Yvonne Guillen, whose two daughters go to Girls Prep in the Lower East Side. “It’s not fair for my neighborhood to dictate my daughters’ education. Our zoned district schools aren’t good.”

While campaigning for mayor, de Blasio had said “there’s no way in hell” that some charter schools should receive free rent. The schools with the fewest resources would pay the least, he has said, as previously reported.

De Blasio said he is devising a plan to charge a fair amount of rent to current charters, while new charters’ rent will be determined on a case-by-case basis, the New York Daily News reported. [NYDN]Mark Maurer