Cuomo in Struggle With de Blasio Over NYC Charter Schools

Image: Cuomo in Struggle With de Blasio Over NYC Charter Schools

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 10:58 AM

By Elliot Jager

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio met with Gov. Andrew Cuomo Tuesday in Albany against a background of public tension between the two Democrats over the place of charter schools in the city's education system, The New York Times reported.

In New York City, charter schools are funded by the taxpayers but run by nonprofit groups who pledge to be accountable for student performance. About 70,000 out of 1.1 million New York City children attend its 183 charter schools.

The mayor opposes providing charter schools free space in existing municipal schools — reversing the policy of former mayor Michael Bloomberg. He also wants to minimize the amount of municipal money spent on charters.

Cuomo has promised parents that he would guarantee charter schools are funded and that they have the physical space to operate.

De Blasio is committed to rolling back charters. He has blocked three schools in particular — run by a nonprofit with whom he has engaged in a long-standing political feud — from utilizing space in public school buildings. The mayor said the idea of "co-location" of charters in public school buildings is "abhorrent."

The mayor and governor are also divided on de Blasio's scheme to provide free universal prekindergarten to New York City residents. Cuomo does not oppose the idea but wants it financed from existing revenues, while de Blasio wants to impose a special tax on the city's most affluent citizens.

He has reallocated $210 million, originally budgeted by the Bloomberg administration for charters, to prekindergarten classes, the Times reported.

Cuomo, like President Barack Obama, believes charters provide parents with choice.

Philosophically, de Blasio opposes shuttering failing schools and converting them into charters. He believes shifting away from the traditional public school model is a bad idea, according to the Daily Beast.

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