Board agenda... Charter schools to get sweetheart lease deals at $1 per year... Yet, CPS is paying market rental rates to local privatizers (and churches) to 'relieve overcrowding'... again

Two years after the members of the Chicago Board of Education voted (at the Board's May 22, 2013 meeting) to close 50 Chicago public schools, despite overwhelming community protests and testimony from seven aldermen opposed to the closing plans, the Board continues to favor charter schools with sweetheart deals on leasing public school buildings. This continues while the Board is also voting to pay market rates when the Board leases space because of overcrowding in some parts of the city.

Above, one of the Board Reports that lease school buildings in Chicago to charter schools for $1 per year, or a total of $5 for the five-year term of the lease. The above Board Report is on the agenda for the May 27, 2015 Board meeting, and continues the privileges of Urban Prep charter school. Imagine paying one dollar per year for a three-storey brick school building in a prime Chicago neighborhood. You ask where? Is there a catch? Well, yes, there is a catch. You have to be a crony charter school operator and you have to have the scandal ridden Chicago Board of Education give you this sweetheart deal.

A review of the massive (nearly 300 pages) public agenda for the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Education for May 27, 2015, shows that there are seven deals with charter school operators to receive school buildings for $1.00 per year leases. Each of the deals is included in a "Board Report." The "Board Report" is the form which an item gets on the agenda and is voted on by the Board members.

The leases are for five years (a total of $5), so renting a large school building in Chicago is now cheaper than a six pack of beer.

The following charter school operators are proposed to get $1 per years leases for 5-years:


-- EPIC ACADEMY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL -- Board Report 15-0527-0P3

-- LEGACY CHARTER SCHOOL -- Board Report 15-0527-0P4


-- URBAN PREP ACADEMIES -- Board Report 15-0527-0P6

-- URBAN PREP ACADEMIES INC -- Board Report 15-0527-0P7

-- URBAN PREP ACADEMIES INC -- Board Report 15-0527-0P8

What makes this news more lopsided in favor of the privatizers and against taxpayers who favor public schools is the fact that when CPS pays market value to lease space for regular schools. Depending upon where the leasing takes place, CPS pays an average of $10,000 per month for rent.

Examples take place at the overcrowded schools on the Southwest Side. Two on the May 27 agenda are worth noting, one to lease space from a politically connected church, the other from a suburban corporation.

To relieve overcrowding at Edwards Elementary School, CPS will lease space from a church. The annual rent is $112,388 with the "New Life Church" for the use of space located at 5101 S. Keeler for Edwards Elementary School (Board Report 15-0527-OP9).

While the Chicago Board of Education continues to lease school buildings to charter schools for $1 per year (five year leases the total cost of which is $5), when the Board needs space to relieve overcrowding, it pays full market price. Above, the Board Report on the agenda for the May 27, 2015 meeting of the Board of America's third largest public school system reveals that the Board will be paying an average of more than $150,000 per year to leave space to the Peck Elementary School pre-k program. The Edwards lease is not the only expensive leasing taking place on the Southwest Side. "Brothers C & S, L.L.C.", a business located outside of Chicago (5618 West 95th Street, Oak Lawn, IL 60453) is going to get an average of $150,000 per year rents for five years on properties for Peck Elementary School Pre-K programming. Documents show rent CPS will pay according to Board Report 15-0527-OP9; Rent shall be paid monthly as follows:

Lease Year

7/01/15 - 6/30/16 -- $144,420

7/01/16 - 6/30/17 -- $148,786

7/01/17 - 6/30/18 -- $153,249

7/01/18 - 6/30/19 -- $157,824

7/01/19 - 6/30/20 -- $162,562

All this is taking place while the city schools are claiming to be broke after closing 50 schools two years ago this month. And so, on May 27, 2015, the Chicago Board of Education will continue its policy of paying premium rents -- while collecting only $1.00 per year in rents from charter schools that get public school space.


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