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Rent-Free Ride Ending For Kenny Gamble’s Charter School Company

(Audenried High School.  Credit: Harvey Finkle, Philadelphia Public School Notebook, thenotebook.org)

(Audenried High School. Credit: Harvey Finkle, Philadelphia Public School Notebook, thenotebook.org)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia charter school operator will start paying some of the costs to use district-owned buildings next year, after paying nothing this year.

School district officials say Universal Companies will begin paying some operating costs next year at Audenried High School and Vare Middle School.

The company, founded by music mogul Kenny Gamble, has paid zero this year, reportedly under an oral agreement with the Ackerman administration.

But Thomas Darden, the district’s deputy chief for strategic programs, told the School Reform Commission last Friday that Universal will be cutting a check soon.

“The deal itself will be a one-year license agreement in which Universal, for both Audenried and Vare, will pay a total of $500,000 to the district beginning on July 1st,” he says.

It’s not unusual for the district to subsidize a charter school’s operating costs — but it is unusual for a charter to pay nothing.