by Joe Shahen
Just over a month into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, New York City has emerged at the front of a charter school battle that magnifies a larger issue across the state. At the end of January, Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña stripped $210 million in capital funds meant for charter school construction and will be re-allocating the funds to other projects
NECSN President Bill Phillips appeared on Time Warner Cable News’ “Capital Tonight” last week to discuss the recent funding loss. Bill explained that as the co-location of charter schools with district schools has become a major issue for the de Blasio administration, these capital funds would have been used to build new space, thus solving some of the issues. Now, with the loss of that funding and a moratorium being placed on co-locations, it seems like finding a place for th e city’s charters will be more difficult.
New York City’s charters are in this precarious position because of what Bill (charter schools Bill, not Mayor Bill) described as a “defect” in the state’s charter law that must be remedied: charter schools are not given access to facilities financing. What is currently a major issue in New York City is actually an issue around the state, and this is something that can only be fixed in Albany.
Later in the week, the New York Post editorial page echoed Bill’s stance that this is something that must be made a priority in Albany. Last Tuesday, Lt. Governor Robert Duffy told charter supporters that “there is room for everybody.” The Post urged Governor Cuomo to live up to that promise.
Thousands of New York City children face potential “educational homelessness.” It’s time for policy makers in Albany to see that it doesn’t happen.
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