Charter schools were hit on two fronts this month.

The United Federation of Teachers alleged that the city paid $200 million in charter rent to shady developers last week and earlier this month the Jamaica NAACP’s Education Committee announced a resolution in opposition to co-locations and lifting the cap.

Jamaica NAACP Education Chairman Ronald Britt said he is not anti-charter and is pro-parent choice — informed choice.

“We don’t want to siphon funds away from our district public schools to provide to charter schools that co-locate inside of our public schools,” Britt told the Chronicle. “New York City is treated special — we are carved out in the sense that other schools receive transition aid when charter schools open up in their district and New York City does not receive transition aid.”

A report from the Jamaica NAACP made up of stats from the city Department of Education states that $2.69 billion for fiscal year 2023 was diverted from DOE schools to charters. That number does not account for the space and services that co-located charter schools receive for free, according to the resolution.

Charter schools that are not co-located received $166 million in subsidies from the DOE in 2023 to rent out private spaces; 60 percent of that is reimbursable by the state.

“That has an impact financially for public schools,” Britt said. “The state realized that, so they put in this thing called transitional aid that provides some funds whenever that happens to the district so that the schools have some support. New York City is the only district in the state that is excluded from that funding.”

New York City is also the only school district in the country that has to provide classroom space to charters, according to Britt.

“I believe New York City was targeted because it has the largest school network and the charter groups have a lot of lobbyists,” he added.

From 2021 to 2022, the city school system had more than 1 million students, which includes 139,752 in charters, according to the DOE.

When asked about charter schools having students with better scores on state exams and having waitlists for kids, Britt countered that charter schools focus on students in the general population, not children who are English Language Learners or who have physical or mental disabilities.

“That’s not like comparing apples to apples,” Britt said.

He also stated that there is no transparency on the number of kids on charter school waiting lists, and that there are zombie charters, schools that have had their charter license revoked, which is why he supports a moratorium on creating more charters for schools like KIPP, Uncommon and Success Academy.

Success Academy pointed to its success in School District 5 in Harlem, which has nearly 60 percent of students in charter schools and said those students are primarily minorities from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

“With her proposal to expand charter schools in NYC, Governor Hochul is simply championing the rights of Black and Brown kids and families to access high quality schools,” a spokeswoman from Success Academy said via email.

The cost per student in charter schools is nearly half at $17,626 compared to $35,941 in regular city schools, according to the New York City Charter School Center.

But Britt also believes that city and state comptrollers should audit charter schools so that parents can get a better assessment on their effectiveness.

The UFT shares a similar sentiment with the Jamaica NAACP.

“The UFT supports legislation in Albany to stop using public funds to pay New York City charter school rent in private space,” a UFT spokesperson told the Chronicle via email. “When the law first took effect in 2014 to 2015, the city had to set aside $10.2 million to help charters pay their rent. By fiscal 2022 to 2023, that cost was up to $200 million. That’s money that could have gone to traditional public schools that instead went to the private real estate industry.”

This resulted in developers taking advantage of the law and a boom in charter schools, according to a UFT spokesperson.Developers will build space out to deliberately market to charter schools to get a guaranteed rental payment. The city will always pay its rent. A space rented to a business might go belly up.

The DOE said that providing funds for charter school rent in private facilities “is a state law. We must comply with state laws.”

Success Academy said the best solution is to co-locate both district and charter schools.

“Two thirds of district schools are co-located — there’s no reason not to use the 171,000 empty seats in public school buildings,” added the Success Academy spokeswoman.

KIPP said that it does not have any schools in Queens and did not further comment on what the Jamaica NAACP or UFT alleged.

Uncommon Schools did not comment.