NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City is defending the big cost of renovating a Brooklyn storefront school for 20 pre-kindergarten kids.

CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported the city is shelling out $6.5 million for the Bay Ridge facility that’s a former retail space.

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Mike Reilly, a public school parent who serves on his local community education council, applauds Mayor Bill de Blasio for enacting universal pre-k. However, he fears money was wasted in the rush to implement it, while schools such as PS-37 – which serves special needs students – wait years for needed improvements.

“This is something that he’s going to hang his hat on. That’s what it’s about. He wants to make sure that this is done, but by the same token he shouldn’t be putting things to the wayside,” Reilly said.

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The Department of Education, though, isn’t blinking an eye over the price tag.

“We repurposed a valuable city-owned property and renovated it into a state-of-the-art facility to provide additional free, full-day, high-quality pre-k seats in a high-demand community,” the department said in a statement.

The renovation work at the site included heating and air conditioning, partitions, concrete floors and a sprinkler system.

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Since the city owns the building, the Education Department isn’t paying any rent.