March 4, 2014
Parents, students and lawmakers are demanding equal funding for New York’s charter schools, sounding off against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans to charge rent, and recent revocation of co-locations for three city charters.
Proponents of charter schools are enthusiastic over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s program to provide $1.5 billion over five years for the expansion of universal pre-K. Charter schools would be eligible for the funding under the governor’s plan, as opposed to de Blasio’s proposal to fund preschool by raising taxes on wealthier city residents. Several thousand supporters of the publicly funded, privately run schools swarmed the steps of the Capitol Tuesday, while de Blasio advocated for his UPK proposal at an event a few blocks away.
“Education is treated like an industry, but what you’re saying here today is it’s not an industry,” Cuomo told the crowd.” We spend more money per pupil than any state in the nation; we’re number 32 in results. It’s not just about putting more money in the public school system, it’s trying something new and that’s what charter schools are doing.”
Cuomo advocated for the alternative institutions, specifically congratulating a Success Academy located in the South Bronx that ranks highly among schools statewide. All three charters that lost co-location agreements last week were Success Academies — a chain of charters founded by former New York City Councilwoman, and political rival of de Blasio, Eva Moskowitz.
Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein also voiced his support at the rally. In reference to de Blasio’s plan to impose a moratorium on co-locations for charter schools, Klein vowed to ensure the future of charter schools in this year’s final budget. The senator has also vowed not to pass a spending plan that does not include the mayor’s pre-K tax hike.
“Somehow, right now, it’s become politically popular to oppose charter schools,” Klein said. “Somehow people believe that making sure that our young people get a quality education, making sure our parents have a choice to send their kids to a school that provides discipline and first rate education, is politically incorrect.”
(*Republished with permission from The Legislative Gazette, by Kelly Fay)