Historic Court Decision for New York Charter School Families: Parents Will Have Their Day in Court

Posted by on 05 / 27 / 2015 0 Reactions

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New York State Supreme Court Judge Donna Siwek today issued a ground-breaking decision in the Brown v. New York charter school funding lawsuit and said that five charter school families from Buffalo and Rochester should be granted their day in court.
 
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 27, 2015
For media inquiries and press availability, contact: Jessica Mokhiber, 
518-573-0516, jmokhiber@necharters.org
 
HISTORIC COURT DECISION FOR NEW YORK CHARTER SCHOOL FAMILIES: PARENTS WILL HAVE THEIR DAY IN COURT
THE BROWN V. NEW YORK LAWSUIT SEEKS FUNDING EQUITY FOR CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS
 
Albany, NY – New York State Supreme Court Judge Donna Siwek today issued a ground-breaking decision in the Brown v. New York charter school funding lawsuit and said that five charter school families from Buffalo and Rochester should be granted their day in court. This decision comes less than two weeks after Judge Siwek heard arguments about why the lawsuit against the state should not be dismissed.
 
“This is exactly what we were hoping for and we could not be more pleased with the judge’s decision that we – the families -- deserve to be heard!” said charter school parent Denise Stevens, whose daughter Unique Brown is named in the lawsuit. “This is an historic moment for our children. All we’re asking for is fairness and we are one step closer to getting that for our kids.”
 
The Brown v. New York charges that the state’s charter school funding scheme is unconstitutional and deprives students in charter schools with adequate funding. In Buffalo, charter students see only 3/5 of the funding that students in traditional district schools receive. In Rochester, charter students only see 68 cents on the dollar compared to other public school students. Statewide, charter students receive about 25% less in funding than other public school students. Additionally, all charter schools outside New York City – and 40% of the charters within New York City -- are denied full access to facilities funding.
 
 The plaintiffs include five charter school families from Buffalo and Rochester with seven students between them in grades two through nine. The lawsuit was filed last fall with the support of the Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN). (For more on Brown v. New Yorkhttp://www.necharters.org/case_summary).
 
“We are thrilled that we stood up to make some noise for our children and that we were heard! My child Giselle deserves fairness – and so do all of the other charter school children in New York." said Buffalo charter parent Ingrid Knight.
 
Buffalo grandmother Michelle Emanuel, said, "I am so thankful for this decision. My grandson Tishawn’s charter school education is priceless – but I know he deserves what other public school children receive. This is about fairness and I am so excited to see this case proceed.”
 
Rochester parent Maria Dalmau, a plaintiff, said, “This is a truly wonderful moment. We are overjoyed with this decision. My children should not be treated any differently than other public school children just because I found a better option for them. The district schools struggle so much, and EMHCS has been a great option when it seemed like we had none. It is heartening that the court believes our case should proceed”
 
Plaintiff Russell Bell, whose three students attend King Center Charter School in Buffalo, said, “We believe in justice and it is justice for our children that we are going to have our day in court. We enrolled our children in charter schools because it was the best option for them in Buffalo right now – but we didn’t want them to be shortchanged. Today’s decision is a step closer to fairness.”
 
Northeast Charter Schools Network CEO Kyle Rosenkrans said, “In the end, the judge saw what we saw – that these five brave families deserve their voices to be heard. We are proud of them for standing up for their children and all of our state’s charter school children who have been for too long deprived of fairness.”
 
Northeast Charter Schools Network Legal Director Harold Hinds said, “I truly admire the five families who have stood up for their children to fight for fairness. I could not be more pleased with this decision and look forward to a day when all of New York State’s public school children are funded fairly and equitably.”
 
Lead attorney on the case from Herrick, Feinstein, LLP, Susan Dwyer, said " I think I can speak for every student in a charter school in New York today, and every other one who would like to be, in saying how encouraged we are by this landmark decision which acknowledges that charter school students have a right to ask the court to recognize their constitutional rights as public school students in this State.”
 
Buffalo attorney Terrence M. Connors said, “This is tremendous news for charter school families. I've said on many occasions that the city of Buffalo is experiencing a rebirth but we will never achieve true momentum until our education systems catch up.  Charter schools are working in Buffalo and charter school children should be fairly supported.”
 
To read the judge’s decision, click here: http://bit.ly/BvNYMotion
 
 
About the Northeast Charter Schools Network: The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 250 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.
 
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