A new charter school is heading to Mott Haven after a $209 million tax-exempt bond agreement was reached between the KIPP NYC and the city’s Build NYC Resource Corporation, expanding the borough’s charter school network.
Hoping to open before the 2025-2026 school year, the new charter school will be KIPP’s second high school charter in NYC — both are located in the Bronx — and aims to serve a total of 2,800 high school students in the city.
The 150,000-square-foot charter building on 75 Canal St. West will join KIPP NYC’s network of 18 public charter schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
The 75 Canal St. West site was formerly used as a yellow taxi depot.
The KIPP charter school network, founded in 1995, touts its diverse student body — close to 100% of students come from minority groups, and approximately 90% of students qualify for federal free or reduced-price lunch — as well as its strong educational attainment, which includes a 97% high school graduation rate.
The new building will also feature a high-performance HVAC system to ensure air quality and a commercial kitchen to produce healthy meals for the local community, the Bronx Times has learned.
Since 1998, public charter schools have borrowed more than $10 billion using tax-exempt bonds, representing more than 800 transactions.
Tax-exempt bonds issued through Build NYC, which is managed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), can offer several benefits to borrowers, including lower interest rates, refinancing of existing debt, and repayment terms up to 30 to 40 years.
A spokesperson from KIPP Schools told the Bronx Times that the funding from EDC is “critical” to expanding academic opportunity for more students in the Bronx.
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Last month, Mott Haven also unveiled a new DREAM Charter School, a K-12 campus, that was constructed on a $50 million loan and hopes to serve roughly 1,300 elementary, middle and high school charter students.
And the Bronx could be primed for more charter school growth, if Gov. Kathy Hochul’s push to eliminate caps that have long restricted charter school buildout in the city is adopted, charter advocates say.
New York City charter schools are currently capped at 275, with the most in the Bronx — 94. Hochul’s proposal would keep a statewide cap in place of 460 charter schools, but eliminate regional caps that would add 85 more slots for new schools anywhere in New York state.
Charter schools have gained 10,000 children since the pandemic and Bronx charter school enrollment increased by 5.5% in the last year.
Reach Robbie Sequeira at [email protected] or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.