More than 1000 New York charter school families, educators join top officials to call on legislature to erase the charter school funding gap once and for all

Posted by on 02 / 02 / 2016 0 Reactions

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, State Senate Leader Jeffrey Klein, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, and over 1,000 charter school parents, students and teachers from across the state came together in Albany today for the 12th annual Charter Advocacy Day.

For Immediate Release:  February 2, 2016
Contact: Jessica Mokhiber, (518) 573-0516, jmokhiber@necharters.org; Mitch Schwartz, (646-930-0229), mschwartz@skdknick.com

MORE THAN 1000 NEW YORK CHARTER SCHOOL FAMILIES, EDUCATORS JOIN TOP OFFICIALS TO CALL ON LEGISLATURE TO ERASE THE CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDING GAP ONCE AND FOR ALL

Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, Majority Leader Flanagan, IDC Leader Klein, Assemblyman Crespo and Others Draw Statewide Crowd to 12th Annual Charter Advocacy Day In Support of Governor Cuomo’s Charter Budget Priorities

Albany, NY – New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, State Senate Leader Jeffrey Klein, Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, and over 1,000 charter school parents, students and teachers from across the state came together in Albany today for the 12th annual Charter Advocacy Day, co-hosted by the New York City Charter School Center and the Northeast Charter Schools Network.

Top New York State officials and charter parents from across the state – from New York City to Buffalo - urged support for the commonsense fixes to the charter funding formula proposed in Governor Cuomo’s budget last month. Charter families and educators also called for facilities funding for all of the state’s charter schools. Right now, nearly 100 schools across New York State are denied facilities funding – all charters outside of New York City and nearly one-quarter of charters in the city.

After the festivities, there were close to 90 legislative meetings between charter parents and legislators, which allowed parents to make the case for fair funding for all charters directly with legislators from across the state and all branches of government.

Independent Democratic Conference Leader Senator Jeff Klein said: "Charter schools are public schools and provide our parents and students with wonderful choices. The learning environments created inside charter schools are recipes for success. With their innovative learning ideas, high standards and supportive environments, we are seeing so many students succeed. These public charters must be treated fairly and I'm so proud to support them."

“Kids in charter schools are being treated like second-class citizens when it comes to funding. The families here in Albany are asking for that to change this year,” said Northeast Charter Schools Network CEO Kyle Rosenkrans. “Children shouldn’t be penalized with fewer resources just because their parents chose a different, often better, type of public school. The number one place where they’re shortchanged is facilities.”

“We’re thrilled to help provide charter school parents with the opportunity to tell Albany legislators why all public schools must finally be treated equally,” said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center. “Many charters statewide remain victims of persistent funding inequities that funnel dollars away from some of the highest-need students in the state. We stand with Governor Cuomo in support of budgetary language that makes key fixes toward funding parity between charter and district schools. We hope that lawmakers – especially those who represent districts with a high concentration of charters – listen to their constituents and level the playing field once and for all.”

Dr. Tiffani Curtis, Principal of Henry Johnson Charter School in Albany said, “At Henry Johnson Charter, we are helping students achieve and we're doing great work in a district where great school options are few and far between. In Albany, charter school children only get about 75 cents on the dollar compared to district kids. It's simply unfair. We are pleading with the legislature to fix this and make sure all public school children are treated equally."

Dr. Tolga Hyali, Superintendent of Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School and Utica Academy of Science Charter School said, “Our schools are doing tremendous work with some of the hardest to reach students in struggling districts. We emphasize STEM curriculum to ensure our kids are equipped with the tools to succeed in a competitive world. Today, our legislators heard about this great work and how important it is to our children that elected leaders make sure charter schools are equally funded this year."

“Renaissance Charter School understands, as Governor Cuomo does, that the charter school sector in New York can only continue providing great public education to our state’s students if we receive full funding parity,” said Stacey Gauthier, Principal of Renaissance Charter School.  “That’s why we’re standing with the proud advocates taking part in today’s Advocacy Day and calling on our leaders to eliminate the funding gap once and for all.”

“Williamsburg Charter High School is thrilled to add our voice on this year’s Advocacy Day to the thousands of parents and students all over New York who are calling for an end to unequal funding for public schools,” said Principal Kathleen Gaffney. “The time has come for full funding parity for all schools in our state, so charter schools can dedicate all their resources to serving our children.”

Statewide on average, charter school students receive 75 cents on the dollar compared to students in district schools. The gap in funding is worse in places like Buffalo, where charter children only receive 60 cents on the dollar. In Rochester, it’s 68 cents on the dollar. Additionally, all schools outside of New York City are denied access to state facilities funding and are therefore forced to pay rent or mortgage, and spend scarce dollars on building maintenance – something other public schools do not have to do.

About the Northeast Charter Schools Network: The Northeast Charter Schools Network is the membership and 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. www.necharters.org

About the New York City Charter School Center

The New York City Charter School Center is an independent non-profit 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 the Northeast Charter Schools Network: The Northeast Charter Schools Network is the membership and 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. www.necharters.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 the City’s charter school students are African-American or Latino, and over 70 percent are from low-income families. There will be 205 public charter schools serving over 95,000 students in all five boroughs for the 2015-2016 school year. 

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