by Stephen Eide
February 11, 2014
New York City’s charter school sector is distinguished by its size, strong student performance, and the high percentage of schools “colocated” in a district public school facility. Colocated charter schools in New York City are not required to pay rent, but the Independent Budget Office (IBO) has recommended that the city consider charging rent to colocated charter schools to raise revenue. Newly elected mayor Bill de Blasio approves the idea. Charging rent in line with the IBO’s recommendation would have forced 71 percent of colocated charters into deficit in 2011-12, likely requiring teacher layoffs. Colocation has facilitated the expansion of New York’s charter school sector, which tends to outperform New York public schools. Even if charging rent did not cause performance, it would result in fewer high-performing schools by leading to a smaller charter school sector overall.