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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Charter cap raised: more overcrowding ahead!

Legislation to raise the statewide charter school cap from 200 to 460 was approved on Friday; with 114 more charters planned for NYC.

The bill passed 93 to 42 in the Assembly; the only NYC votes opposed were AMs Inez Barron and Jeffrey Dinowitz of the Bronx; Deborah Glick of Manhattan; and Alan Maisel, Felix Ortiz, and Annette Robinson of Brooklyn. In the Senate, it passed 45 to 15; the only NYC Senators who voted no were Marty Golden of Brooklyn and Frank Padavan of Queens.

There are some good things in the bill; including barring profit-making operations from running charters; allowing audits by the state comptroller; mandating that that all schools, including charters, have parent associations; and requiring that charters demonstrate efforts to recruit and retain special needs children and English Language Learners.

But, and this is a big but, the Chancellor will continue to be able to unilaterally decide where to locate charter schools, including in district school buildings, with parents being denied any voice on these critical decisions.

Expect even more overcrowding; the continued loss of student access to libraries, gyms, art rooms, and intervention spaces; and the continuation of bitter battles that have already divided too many communities.

(More on this at GothamSchools, Times, WSJ, and Daily News)

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