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New York Families Sue State Over Funding Gap Between Charters and District Schools

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Several families from New York state have filed a lawsuit in the state's supreme court claiming the funding gap between charter schools and regular district schools is unconstitutional.

Five families from Buffalo and Rochester filed the suit saying that charter school students get as little as three-fifths of the per pupil funding that their district counterparts receive, disproportionately affecting children of color and those from lower-income families. Charter schools in the state serve a larger proportion of black and Hispanic students than district schools, according to the lawsuit. 

The Northeast Charter Schools Network, or NESCN, helped file the suit.  

"New York's charter students receive a fraction of what their friends in district schools receive—that's unfair, unconstitutional, and discriminatory," NESCN Interim President Kyle Rosenkrans said in a statement. "And because the formula provides no money for buildings, charters must divert their already shortchanged classroom dollars to pay the rent."

Although New York City has been in the news lately for political clashes over a law that requires the district to provide space for charter schools, districts outside the city are not obligated to give facilities to charters.

Finding and financing buildings is a major hurdle for charter schools nationally as most state laws do not allocate them money for facilities.

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