Leasing public school space to charter schools

Jul 15, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

In June, the Conway School Board turned down a request from a charter school to lease vacant space at the Kennett Middle School.

The board denied the request from the Robert Frost Charter School despite efforts by New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut, a charter school advocate, to sway board members to approve it.

To learn more about what charter schools are, see our issue page.

There is currently no requirement in New Hampshire for public school districts to provide space or facilities for charter schools.

Arguments in favor of leasing

The Robert Frost School sought a 10-year lease on some of the 9,000 square feet of unused classrooms on the second floor of the 1938 wing of the middle school building that has sat dormant for the past four years.

In arguing for the lease, proponents point out that the space has to be maintained by the school district - at a cost of about $70,000 a year - and a lease with the charter school would help defray that expense. They also contend that leasing the unused space is a good use of public resources, in particular because a charter school is a state-approved entity.

Objections and concerns

Opponents argue that public schools are competing with charter schools for limited state resources. Leasing classroom space to a competitive school, they say, would make it easier for a charter school to attract students away from the public school, leading to less state funding for the traditional public school.

Should local school districts make their facilities available to charter schools? Answer in the comments section below.

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