N.Y.C. Charter Advocates Lobby Against de Blasio's Policy Changes
Charter school advocates in New York City are headed to the state capital today to lobby against anti-charter policies proposed by Bill de Blasio, the city's new mayor.
The mayor, who has been vocal in his criticisms of charter schools, and in particular, former mayor Michael Bloomberg's policy of allowing charters to share space with regular public schools, made his first move to anger the charter school community last week. His appointed chancellor Carmen Fariña announced that $210 million in capital funds slated for charter schools would be diverted for another use.
While many news reports have speculated that the money would instead go toward expanding preK—one of the mayor's signature campaign promises—in a radio interview on The Brian Lehrer Show yesterday he said it wasn't clear exactly where those funds would go, suggesting the money would be better used to help ease overcrowding or to provide more preK seats. (The segment starts around 2:45.)
In the interview, de Blasio also called for an immediate moratorium on allowing charters to co-locate with regular public schools and said that his administration would be reviewing the pending co-locations previously approved by Bloomberg. The mayor did not say what his plan of action was on the current lawsuits surrounding the issue. (Currently, there are two lawsuits that aim to reverse charter school colocation for about 30 schools around the city.)
Spurred in part by these changes in policy, the New York City Charter School Center organized its 10th annual advocacy day, busing more than 1,400 parents and educators to Albany to lobby for legislation that supports charter schools.
In anticipation of the day of lobbying, the United Federation of Teachers—New York City's teachers union—released a report pointing to the high salaries of charter school networks' top executives and an analysis that found the city's largest charter networks have about $65 million in net assets, according to numbers from 2011-12.