Landlord sues North Tampa charter school for back rent
A charter school in North Tampa that has served as an alternative to several low-performing district schools is behind in its rent, a lawsuit alleges.
New Springs Schools owes more than $600,000 in payments on the Busch Boulevard school to Jeffrey L. Miller Investments Inc., according to a suit filed July 19 in Hillsborough Circuit Court.
The landlord alleges the charter school stopped paying rent some time after the lease was renegotiated and renewed in 2014.
B-rated New Springs, with 334 students in grades K-8. draws its largest numbers from Van Buren Middle School, which received a D last year; Robles Elementary, also with a D; and C-rated Forest Hills Elementary and Greco Middle.
The school's elementary and middle divisions were consolidated in 2015 when the School Board approved a five-year renewal of their district charter. District officials found the science-based curriculum was sound, students were well behaved and the building was "neat and clean."
The landlord, however, says New Springs has not maintained the building, and is performing unauthorized renovations on the roof.
Budgets filed with the district show the school gets between $2.5 million and $3.3 million a year in state, local and federal funding, depending on enrollment. Administrators budgeted between $295,000 and $356,000 a year for facilities acquisition and construction. The application, however, assumed 528 students would be enrolled.
The Tampa Bay Times left word at New Springs and will publish their response when it arrives.