With initiatives expected to face difficult obstacles in Albany, hundreds of charter school leaders and families protested on Tuesday to call on the legislature to support the regional expansion of charter schools.
Two state politicians joined them.
More than a hundred additional schools might become accessible in New York City due to proposals initially presented in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget last month to eliminate regional caps and reissue expired charters.
Assemblyman Brian Cunningham stated, “This is a war on making sure our families have options and that our parents can decide where they want to send their children” (D-Brooklyn).
Assemblyman John Zaccaro Jr. (D-Bronx) said, “We need to make sure that we are open to all solutions that will produce the desired outcome that we all want for our children because it is simply too vital not to embrace that approach.”
However, numerous reports this week indicate that the State Assembly would likely reject the charter recommendations in its one-house budget later this month.
The initiative has also received public criticism from several significant state senators, including national and local education committee chairs.
The budget proposal from the Assembly will be released the next week, according to press secretary Kerri Biche for Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who declined to comment further on the specifics.
Charter supporters declared on Tuesday that they still want to fight for charter school growth despite the recent news.
Crystal McQueen-Taylor, executive director of StudentsFirstNY, stated, “Unfortunately, I think politics is getting in the way of making the correct decisions right now.
Yet, she continued, “We have sympathetic members because they hear from residents. They learn about charter schools from parents having difficulty finding the best public education option for their children.
If passed, the proposal would allow municipal operators, previously barred by regional restrictions, access to more than 80 charters available under the state limitation.
In addition, more than 20 “zombie” charters that have shuttered since 2015—whether because the schools did not renew their programs or had them revoked—would be brought back into play under Hochul’s proposal.
Due to the sector’s downstate cap being reached in 2019, about 275 charter schools are currently operating in the city.
According to their detractors, charter schools siphon off funding and students from the regular public school system. City schools are required by state law to either give space or budget for charters in their buildings.
On April 1st, a final budget is due.