New York City Charter Schools Hold Day of Action, Voter Registration Drive and Call for Fair Funding from Albany

Posted by on 03 / 03 / 2016 0 Reactions

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Calling on Albany to end the inequitable funding of their children, charter school parents, educators and students were joined by Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Michael Blake (D-Bronx) for a day of action and voter registration event at Harriet Tubman Charter School in the Bronx.

For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 3, 2016
Contact: Jessica Mokhiber, (518) 573-0516, jmokhiber@necharters.org 

New York City Charter Schools Hold Day of Action, Voter Registration Drive and Call for Fair Funding from Albany
40,000 NYC Charter Kids Only Receive 68 Cents on the Dollar Compared to Other Public School Children

New York, NY – Calling on Albany to end the inequitable funding of their children, charter school parents, educators and students were joined by Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo (D-Bronx) and Assemblyman Michael Blake (D-Bronx) for a day of action and voter registration event at Harriet Tubman Charter School in the Bronx.  They called on Governor Cuomo and their elected leaders in Albany to fight for them during budget negotiations and provide equity in the form of facilities funding to all of the schools in New York State that don’t receive it. Two in five NYC charter kids -- amounting to nearly 40,000 students – are harmed by this.

Northeast Charter Schools Network New York City Advocacy Manager John Sanchez said, “Two of every five charter kids in New York City are getting no help with their school buildings and that just isn’t right. We are calling on lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and in both houses to be courageous and listen to the voices of their constituents. Our current system forces public schools to choose between paying thousands of dollars in rent or providing more guidance counselors, computers, and after school activities for students. Providing facilities aid for all charter school children is the right thing to do – let’s get the job done.” 

“My school is doing a great job preparing us for the future – but we shouldn’t have to go without resources every kid should have in their school in 2016,” said Rahmatou Kone, a student at Harriet Tubman Charter School. “We are not test subjects; our school is here to stay and our education is not worth less.”

A 2014 law allowed some charters in New York City access to facilities funding but it left out schools that are not growing or expanding. This year, nearly one quarter of NYC charters, and all charters outside of New York City are waiting for this to be fixed. The denial of facilities aid results in a huge funding disparity and forces charter schools to pay rent or a mortgage, and spend scarce dollars on building maintenance – something other public schools do not have to do. In NYC, charter school kids in private space only receive 68 cents on the dollar compared to district school children.  

Sherina Lucas, the Treasurer of Harriet Tubman Charter School’s Parent Association said: “I chose a charter school for my son and daughter because I want them to have the best possible public school education – and Harriet Tubman is providing that for them. But they should absolutely not be funded less for their education because I exercised my right to choose. Lawmakers represent me and parents like me and we’re making sure they hear our voices.” 

Eugene Cornelius, President of Harriet Tubman Charter School’s Parent Association said, “This is about fairness, plain and simple. The law simply makes no sense. Why would some charter school kids receive this aid, but down the road, charter kids at a different school don’t? All of our city’s school children need and deserve our lawmakers’ support. This is the year they can do the right thing and we hope they choose to fund our children equitably.” 

"Our school truly stretches every dollar as far as we can for the benefit of our kids," said Cliff Frazier, Board Chair of Harriet Tubman Charter School. "I can only dream of what we could do for our children if we were funded equitably along with all other public schools who receive state aid for their school buildings. These children need and deserve the same support as all other public school kids and we hope this is the year they receive that support from those who represent them in Albany."

Jerelyn Rodriguez is the co-founder of The Knowledge House, which teaches students and at-risk youth IT and coding to prepare them for 21stcentury jobs. She said, “I am a KIPP charter school alum and so I know first-hand how charter schools can change lives and set kids up for success. ALL of our city’s charter kids deserve fairness and all of them should receive facilities funding. This would enable schools to offer the many afterschool and supplementary services our kids need to prepare them for a successful life. It’s only right -- and we are confident that after today, Albany can hear what we’re asking for.” 

For photos from the event, click here

Link to raw video from Periscope here: https://www.periscope.tv/w/aacZCDUzMDY4NHwxdkFHUmVaRURFektsb81MohW4iX3S8K-uXad2JyMJwlHeL86OCycofgMrfus= 

Participating schools and supporters included:

Harriet Tubman Charter School Junior Academy
Harriet Tubman Charter School Elementary Academy
Girls Prep Bronx Charter School
Bronx Community Charter School
Brooklyn Urban Garden Charter School
Family Life Academy Charter School 1
The Knowledge House
Claremont Neighborhood Center
Jackson Houses
Morrisania Houses
C-Ball
South East Bronx Neighborhood Centers
The Community Board Athletic Leadership League  

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.

90 State Street, Suite 1030, Albany NY, 12207

http://necharters.org

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