NYC Mayor Gets Pushback on Charter School Moves

Image: NYC Mayor Gets Pushback on Charter School Moves

Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 08:16 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New York state senators are planning recommendations in an upcoming budget bill that could undo New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's recent actions against charter schools.

"We're going to fix this problem," Republican Sen. Martin Golden, of Brooklyn, told the New York Post. "We agreed for the first time to provide 'facilities aid' as well as operating aid to charter schools."

The Senate may release its list of suggestions as early as Thursday that includes a plan to override a de Blasio plan, announced in February, to block three of educator Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy charter schools from opening in city-owned buildings.

Success Academy performs among the highest in the state, and most of the students who attend the charter schools are black or Hispanic. Maintaining that "charter schools are a part of the lineup" of the educational system, de Blasio denied he is against charter schools, but said he must be concerned with all children in New York's public school system.

The facilities aid plan is also in response to a de Blasio move that cuts $210 million in city construction money for charter schools.

The state budget plan would increase operating aid and allow charter schools that are already located in city buildings to expand grades in the future, sources told the Post. Further, lawmakers are tentatively considering a plan to prohibit the city from charging rent for charter schools.

Further, the budget resolution includes a $200 million fund that will provide tax credits for people who donate to public, private or parochial schools.

The far-reaching plan may have some difficulty becoming law, however. The Senate is expected to sign off on it, as is Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who backs charter schools. However, the Democratic-run state Assembly is more aligned with teacher unions, who are against charter schools, reports the Post.

Charter schools are also getting support nationally.

Minnesota Republican Rep. John Kline, who chairs the House Education Committee, said Congress should support charter schools as a "valuable alternative to failing public schools and work together to encourage their growth."

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