EXAMINING LEASE COSTS

As you know, chartered public schools are prohibited by state law from directly owning buildings using public money, so charter schools are always only tenants – never owners – of the spaces they occupy.

Over the last decade, charter school facilities has been a major focus of the Association and we have worked to enact charter school facility legislation – including direct ownership, state bonding, amending the lease aid law to cover maintenance costs, and leverage incentive for schools in negotiating leases with landlords.

During the same period, we have been keeping track of Lease Aid and the costs of charter school leases. Today, Lease Aid is close to $80 million dollars a year, while lease costs are $100 million a year.  Given that the Lease Aid Law requires that charters pay 10% of the lease cost from general funds, or about 10 million, it also means that charters are paying an additional $10 million out of general funds.

Earlier this week we sent our member schools a LEASE COST WORKSHEET so that schools could look at lease costs from five different perspectives:

  1. Cost Per Square Foot
  2. % of Excess Cost of Lease from General Fund
  3. Amount of Excess Dollars from General Fund
  4. Cost Per Pupil
  5. Square Foot Cost Per Pupil

The LEASE COST WORKSHEET is designed to be a educational tool for school administrators, Boards of Directors, and its Finance Committee given that lease costs for many schools are the second biggest expenditure after personnel costs.

EVERYTHING HAS A SOURCE

Everything has a source. 

The source of the Mississippi River is the crystal clear waters of Lake Itasca as the water flows over a row of stones.

The Source of Chartered Public Schools is found in the innovation goals articulated in Minnesota’s the charter school law.

Whether it be a river or ideals codified in law, it is the source of things that provide inspiration, opportunities, and challenges. The source of things provide a beginning place for what can become over time and space. We know what the waters of the Mississippi River becomes over space and time. What chartered public schools become over time is still a work in progress.

Today, we encourage everyone in our chartered public schools to look back at the goals in Minnesota’s charter school law and remember that INNOVATION is the source for the existence of chartered public schools.

2020 Innovation Awards Applications now available at:

https://www.mncharterschools.org/awards/