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Report: Taxpayers will cover most operating costs of LeBron James’ school

I Promise School Grand Opening Celebration With LeBron James

AKRON, OH - JULY 30: LeBron James addresses the crowd during the opening ceremonies of the I Promise School on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The School is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and the Akron Public School and is designed to serve Akron’s most challenged students. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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LeBron James opened a school!

That was the quick and easy takeaway last week. But there were questions about how exactly the Akron school would be funded.

Patrick O’Donnell of The Plain Dealer:
The exact breakdown of expenses for the new I Promise School is unclear, since the district and the LeBron James Family Foundation are still sorting out final details of their contract. But the district will pay more than half the costs - perhaps around 75 percent - once it is fully running.

The foundation says it’s spending about $2 million for the school’s first year, including startup costs. It has also committed to spending $2 million or more a year when the school has grown to capacity. The exact amount is still to be determined.

Though James will have a huge influence on the school, I Promise will be run by the district.

It’s a district-owned building. The district will hire and pay the teachers and administration. Kids will ride district buses to school. And they will all eat the free breakfast and lunch the district gives all students.

I Promise will eventually cost about $8 million a year to run out of the district’s regular budget, covered mostly by shifting students, teachers and money from other schools, the district says.

This shouldn’t undo the praise LeBron has received. A $2 million annual donation is still quite sizable. Just because it doesn’t cover the entire cost of the school doesn’t somehow make LeBron not philanthropic.

But, like with most things, it is helpful to understand the entire context.