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Education Advocacy Group Finds Over 100 NYC Public Schools Sharing Buildings With Charter Schools Were Shortchanged Millions In Funding

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A new report finds that some New York City public schools are owed millions of dollars as part of agreements with charter schools.

Inside a building in East Harlem is what parents describe as a tale of two cities.

On one side is Success Academy Charter School, on the other is PS 375 Mosaic Preparatory Academy, where 9-year-old Haylee Rosado is a student.

Despite the cracked floors and walls, she loves it but says Success Academy is in much better shape.

"They're, like, nicer and, like, a bit neat," Haylee told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez.

"The grade in the lower floor, they had, you could tell that they had more things, more advanced things that other students didn't have in his school," parent Arlene Falcon said.

By state law, every time a charter school receives funding to renovate, public schools sharing the same building are supposed to receive matching funding to make their own upgrades.

But after analyzing city records from 2014 to 2019, advocacy group "Class Size Matters" found more than 127 city public schools sharing buildings with charter schools were shortchanged more than $15 million.

"According to the law, those funds are supposed to be provided within three months of a charter school making renovations to their part of the building," said Fiona Yung, with Class Size Matters. "When is that money going to come? It hasn't happened yet."

City data shows from 2014 to 2019, Success Academy Harlem East received about $929,000 in renovation funding not matched by the Department of Education, but the DOE says $913,000 of those expenditures, including the cost of new AC units, are exempt.

That still leaves about $16,000 in missed funding for Mosaic.

"It's very unfortunate and sad to hear that this is happening, but you know, here's hoping for change," parent Crystal Mendez said.

Class Size Matters is calling on the DOE to pay public schools the matching funds they're owed.

If not, they demand the state or city comptroller conduct an audit.

The DOE issued this statement:

"We match and often exceed every facility investment for co-located district schools and we don't force Principals to make sometimes multi-million dollar decisions in a rushed manner, which this report seems to call for."

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