For immediate release
MORE THAN 700 LETTERS FROM NEW YORK STATE CHARTER SCHOOLS DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR CUOMO’S OFFICE
It May Be Winter Break, But Charter Families Are Still Fighting For Fairness; Charters Denied Facilities Funding Say This is the Year to Include Their Schools in the State Budget
Albany, NY – An education reformer from Western New York who also happens to be a charter school dad dropped off more than 700 letters to Governor Cuomo's office this afternoon, calling on him to negotiate a budget that includes fair facilities funding for all of New York State's charter schools. The letters came from Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City.
The letters are written by children, parents, and teachers, and many come straight from the heart.
Rochester Academy Charter School English as a Second Language teacher Anette Rivera said in her letter that her schools deserves fair funding. She told the Governor: “Rochester is a city in crisis! The best way to improve our city is to improve the educational opportunities for all students and to allow for opportunities outside of the substandard local district."
Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School father Ralph Paddock said of the school, "They have the skills and ability to integrate a special education student into regular curriculum and have the student excel at and surpass state requirements. Their ability to have a dedicated approach to teaching makes the school successful.”
Currently, 60,000 charter school children statewide are affected by a lack of public facilities funding. The gap in funding is most severe in Buffalo, which is why a Buffalo charter dad represented the movement statewide during the letter drop-off. When a charter school is denied facilities aid it means much of the money meant for teaching and learning instead pays for buildings and maintenance.
Northeast Charter Schools Network Western New York Advocacy Manager Duncan Kirkwood, whose daughters attend a Buffalo charter school, said, “One of the most worthwhile investments we can make is in our children and our schools. Charter schools are working. You can see it in these letters. Kids talk about being safe, being loved, and learning – but their schools lack many of the resources other public schools are afforded. We hope the Governor takes a moment to read through these letters, and ultimately decides to fund all of our state’s schools fairly.”
DREAM Charter School parent Cynthia Aguila writes, "My child had lived in this community and gone to several schools in the neighborhood. He deserves a chance to reach his potential and achieve his DREAMS. Please give charter schools fair and equal funding for facilities and pupils."
Renaissance Academy Charter School for the Arts student Jamaal, in Rochester, writes, “We work hard and get smarter and deserve to get the same amount of funding that the city schools get."
Young Women's College Prep school counselor Angelica Davis-Bernard said, “I know you are fully invested in improving the Upstate/Western New York area, specifically, Rochester. I know this because of your community presence and commitment to the area. That being said, Rochesterians who are sending their children to charter schools are looking for your investment. Please let us start a new discourse that includes strengthening charter schools to improve communities. Your achievements in NYC were awesome; now bring those same efforts to Rochester! I am excited about our future partnership with you.”
Elmwood Village Charter School 6th grader Josean, from Buffalo, added some levity to his letter, saying, “First you should add some swings to the playground and put back the monkey bars." He continued, that with fair funding they could use resources for learning, saying, "Our library could use some more books- especially comic books. If you could help our school out, that would be really awesome.”
Governor Cuomo's budget proposal does include positives for charter schools but does not include facilities aid for all schools. A portion of New York City schools receive assistance or free space for their schools, but the law leaves out many others, and all schools outside of the city. Charter schools are hopeful that the Governor and Legislature will negotiate a state budget that provides facilities aid for all schools this year.
More letters will be posted throughout the next several weeks on NECSN's twitter page at twitter.com/necharters.
NECSN NYS Director Andrea Rogers and NECSN Advocacy Manager and Charter Father Duncan Kirkwood
in front of the NYS Capital Building with letters from charters schools in Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City
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.
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