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.

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