By Mike DeNardo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A venture by former tennis star Andre Agassi has helped a Philadelphia charter school to move into a new building.
Tennis Hall of Famer Andre Agassi has joined with a real estate company to create a fund for charter schools to find suitable buildings. The first investment for the fund is the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Elementary Academy near 25th and Westmoreland.
Agassi says he believes in charters, having founded his own school in Las Vegas, “for me, a charter was a way that I could do my own school and allow myself to sort of run it differently and demand a little bit higher expectations from the children, from the teachers, from the parents. And, I really liked the opportunity of how nimble it was.”
The Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund provided financing for the KIPP School to convert a former plumbing fixture factory to into a bright new school building.
“Philadelphia makes sense for a lot of reasons. First of all, there are children everywhere in this country as far as I’m concerned. But, specifically as it relates to our model, we need an area that’s very charter-school friendly, very competitive in that space.”
KIPP Philadelphia CEO Marc Mannella says the Agassi fund allows his school to lease commercial real estate at an affordable rate.
KIPP has four charters in Philadelphia, with plans for ten by 2016.