Finding A Home
Finding a building for ICS is one of the more challenging issues with which we struggle as we await word from SUNY about our application. For many parents the distance from our building to their homes will weigh heavily in their decision whether to apply to ICS. For us, the cost of space is an expense we have to trade off against the number of staff we can afford, the salaries we can pay them, and the equipment and books we can buy. A lot of factors to balance. We planned conservatively, allocating as much as 20% of our budget for rent. We also assume we can find a landlord not just with 10,000 feet now, but willing to hold 40,000 feet for our expansion in the coming five years. The real estate professionals on our Board note this is not going to be easy.
So it has been nothing short of spectacular to see the budget proposed by the State Senate last week. Apart from proposing that cities be prohibited from charging rent to charter schools located in public buildings, the Senate also offers a rent allowance for charter schools that do not get public space.
Of course these proposals will have to be negotiated with the Assembly but it is a very positive sign for schools like ICS that do not have significant philanthropic backing. I made this point to the Governor directly last Friday. He told me the same thing he's been saying for weeks, "We'll be there for you." I'm increasingly hopeful this will prove to be the case.
Getting shared use of a building, like many other Brooklyn charters would be nice. But when we looked last year, we could not find the space we needed inside of a district 13 building. So, as I explained about a month ago, the co-location debate has always been a bit academic for us. ICS is a public school and entitled to public space, but with few options, we just accepted that life isn't always fair.
Depending on how the state budget sorts out over the next 10 days, life could get much fairer. And that would mean more flexibility in hiring lots of great teachers and buying lots of great books. And art supplies. And wooden blocks, Legos, and mats for yoga. And napping.
Assemblyman Walter Mosley represents most of the neighborhoods where ICS might be located. We've met with him and he is generally supportive of our efforts. If you wanted to contact him and let him know your feelings about the Senate budget proposal, that would be wonderful.