Archdiocese property listings show limits of charter leases/sales
We explain a story today that the Archdiocese of Baltimore has decided not to lease 13 of its vacant buildings-10 in Baltimore City and three in Baltimore County--to public charter schools.
A controversial decision, the archdiocese has said today that the decision is not absolute, and that exceptions can be made for some charters that don't pose a threat to their neighboring Catholic schools, or Catholic programs that offer similar curricula to charters.
However, it appears that all of the vacant schools stand to have competition from charters, because according to property listings on the archdiocese website, which can be viewed here, every single property listing says: "This school building cannot be leased or sold to public charter schools."
The archdiocese's decision, aimed at helping to stabilize a Catholic school system, has drawn criticism from city and school officials who believed that after a controversial decision to close 13 schools last year, the Archdiocese should use the vacant buildings for any viable educational institution that can offer more options for families.
However, many say that doing that could threaten the very schools the Archdiocese said would be strengthened by a painful consolidation last year. One existing Catholic school, Cardinal Shehan, is now thriving after absorbing students from one of the buildings that closed, but is now being sought after by a city charter. Proximity and competition are key factors in their decisions, they said, and the 200 years of educating Baltimore children of all creeds show that they are invested in the future of Baltimore city students.