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A Think Twice Review of:

Should Charter Schools Pay Rent? Implications for Staffing and Growth

Think Twice - Feb 20, 2014

Publisher/Think Tank - Manhattan Institute

Author(s) - Stephen Eide

This report from the Manhattan Institute examined the potential impact of requiring co-located charter schools to pay rent in NYC. The report reflects concerns of charter advocates and operators regarding potential policy changes under Bill de Blasio, New York's new mayor. The report claims that charging rent to co-located charters in NYC would have triggered an average budget deficit of 10.7 percent at those schools. The report also proposes that paying rent could cripple the co-located charters' growth in NYC.

Reviewer(s) - Bruce Baker, Rutgers University

Bruce Baker finds that the report only presents a handful of poorly documented tables and graphs listing potential budget deficits, speculative layoffs, and average proficiency rates of co-located and non-co-located charter schools. Baker says that the report's greatest weakness is in its assumption that there is no possible downside when resources are transferred from city schools to charter schools. The report assumes that subsidies benefit charter schools and halting these subsidies harms charters and benefits no one. More importantly, Baker finds that the report ignores the broader and more complex policy questions of what it takes to manage a balanced and equitable system of schooling options.