For Immediate Release: February 7, 2017
Jessica Mokhiber, (518) 573-0516, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mitch Schwartz, (646-930-0229), email@example.com
1,500 NEW YORK CHARTER SCHOOL PARENTS, EDUCATORS AND STUDENTS JOIN TOP OFFICIALS TO SUPPORT GOVERNOR CUOMO’S CHARTER BUDGET PRIORITIES
Majority Leader Flanagan, IDC Leader Sen. Klein & Assembly Member Crespo Among Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Celebrating 13th Annual Charter Advocacy Day, Call on Colleagues to Eliminate the Arbitrary Charter Cap and Provide Fair Facilities Funding For All Charters
Albany, NY – More than 1,500 New York charter school parents, students and teachers rallied in Albany today to voice their support for public charter schools at the 13th annual Charter School Advocacy Day. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC) Leader Jeff Klein were among the bipartisan group of elected officials who joined them. The event was co-hosted by the New York City Charter School Center and the Northeast Charter Schools Network.
Supporters from across the state called on the state legislature to support Governor Cuomo’s charter budget proposals. They demanded the elimination of the arbitrary cap on charter schools in New York that currently leaves 44,400 students on waitlists in New York City alone. Additionally, charter school students continue to be shortchanged and denied fair funding. In some parts of the state, such as Buffalo, charter kids receive only 60 cents on the dollar compared to district school kids. The families are asking for funding equity and facilities funding for the schools that do not currently receive it.
After the morning program, charter parents made their case in nearly 90 meetings with legislators, emphasizing the importance of providing enough options in their communities to find a school that fits their child’s needs.
“Parents all over the state have spoken loud and clear: they want more options to find a great public school that meets their child’s needs,” said Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. “The Senate embraces policies that ensure that quality charter schools are one of those options.”
"The most revolutionary thing that we can do is to educate children for whom education was never supposed to be an option,” said Dr. Steve Perry, Founder of Capital Prep Harlem. “That’s why I’m proud to stand with the parents and students here today to demand that our legislators support access to a great public education for every student.”
Dr. Wendy Richards of Aloma D. Johnson Charter School in Buffalo said, "The reason I bring my students to Albany every year to meet their elected leaders is two-fold. The first reason is that I want them to know how to go about invoking change in a meaningful way. The second is that I want legislators to look into my children’s eyes and tell them they are not worth 100% funding. I know they are, but I want lawmakers to know they are. We hope this is the year they do something about it."
Dr. Tiffani Curtis, Principal of Henry Johnson Charter School in Albany said, "Henry Johnson Charter School prides itself on being a true community school. We need to share details about this great work with the people who represent us in the state legislature; that kind of engagement is so important. Today our legislators had a chance to hear how important fair facilities funding is for our children. We hope this is the year to get it done."
"When it comes to policies that support parents and students, it's always a good idea to talk to parents and students," said Assemblyman Marcos Crespo. "That's why this year's Charter School Advocacy Day is so valuable: when legislators see the overwhelming enthusiasm for charter schools firsthand, they can't help but support the sector's growth in our state."
Northeast Charter Schools Network CEO Janeene Freeman said, "I am thrilled to be able to stand side by side with families, students, and teachers for my very first Charter School Advocacy Day in Albany. But this isn't just a photo opportunity for us. Providing equitable support for charters across New York State would mean real opportunities for children stuck in schools that are not working for them. We ask a lot of our schools and hold them to high standards. They're holding up their end of the bargain by doing a great job educating kids with much less funding than other public schools. We're asking the Legislature to hold up its end of the bargain and fund all of our students in a way that is fair and equitable."
“Parents and educators deserve the chance to tell their elected officials why a public charter education has made a difference for their children. We’re proud to support their passionate advocacy for the next generation,” said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center. “Governor Cuomo’s budgetary priorities have made it clear that his administration is committed to supporting quality, thoughtful growth in the sector. Now, it’s time for our legislators to follow his lead by eliminating the arbitrary cap on charter schools that deprives tens of thousands of students of the great public education they deserve.”
Only 30 new charter schools are still available to be issued in New York City under the current charter cap. Without committed action from elected officials, parents could be left without quality options by next year.
Additionally, half of the charters in New York State do not receive any support for their buildings that require rent and maintenance, making facilities funding one of the largest hurdles for charter schools to overcome.
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About the Northeast Charter Schools Network: The Northeast Charter Schools Network is the membership and advocacy organization for the more than 275 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools. www.necharters.org
About the New York City Charter School Center: The New York City Charter School Center is an independent nonprofit committed to fostering an environment in which public charters can open and flourish, and, through their innovative approaches, provide models for improving all public schools. The Charter Center helps new charter schools get started, supports existing schools, and engages the charter school community around key issues. Learn more about the New York City Charter School Center at www.nyccharterschools.org.
About NYC’s Charter Schools
Charter schools are free, independently run public schools that are able to innovate in their classroom structures, curriculum, and teaching methods. In return, they’re held to higher standards of accountability. More than 90 percent of New YorkCity’s charter school students are African-American or Latino, and over 70 percent are from low-income families. There are 216 public charter schools serving over 106,000 students in all five boroughs for the 2016-2017 school year.
Charter Schools Across New York State
A total of 267 charter schools are open across the state. Seventy-eight percent of these schools exceed the average proficiency of the local district in math, and 76 percent do the same in English language arts.