Tax Delinquent Charter Schools Owe $762K to School District

Part of the mayor’s strategy for funding the school district’s $300 million budget shortfall is increased delinquent tax collection, particularly on deadbeat property owners. Ironic, then, that 13 of the school’s alternative and charter schools haven’t been paying their taxes. While the School Reform Commission now forbids tax-delinquents from contracting with the school district, it exempts charters from that rule. City Paper‘s Ryan Briggs notes that the $762,000 charters and their landlords owe equals roughly the salary of 17 first-year teachers, but that number might only be the tip of the iceberg.

That’s just the back taxes on properties directly leased by school operators, not the myriad other city taxes the district ensures its own vendors pay.  There could be millions more owed by subcontractors, by way of unpaid business taxes, use and occupancy taxes, or real-estate tax owed on the owners’ other properties.

Though a handful of the charter operators appear to be officially tax-exempt, City Paper makes a convincing case that the school district’s argument against penalizing tax delinquent charters–too burdensome–doesn’t hold water. Especially when the school is going dangerously broke.

[City Paper]