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Saturday, March 29, 2014

The MOST onerous charter law in the nation: State Budget Set to Divert NYC Public School Funds for Charter School Rent

The proposed budget bill was posted online overnight.  The bill will require the NYC public schools to either allow space for new or expanding charter schools in our buildings or pay for market-rate rent out of our budget.  Parents should contact their Assembly member and insist they vote against this bill.  The loss of funds diverted to charters will come directly from our classrooms.  

[note from LH:  also call your Senators and tell them to vote NO.  This is the most onerous charter school law in the nation.  As far as I know, NYC is the ONLY place in the country where the district will be obligated to provide free space for ANY new or expanded charter that wants it.  The Legislature in their wisdom gave Michael Bloomberg maximal mayoral control when we had a mayor who wanted to maximize public space for private corporations; and took it away when a mayor was overwhelmingly elected who ran against charter co-locations -- recognizing their divisive nature and the fact that our schools are already hugely overcrowded.  Nevertheless, according to sources, the mayor and his people were nowhere to be found when the deal was made, and put up no resistance to this devastating law, cooked up by the Governor and his billionaire contributors. 

I expect nearly all new schools in NYC to be built or leased with public funds in the future will be charters -- as we have 52 more coming until we reach the cap; and parents will have no choice but to apply to them.  The NYC School Construction Authority should be renamed the NYC Charter School Construction Authority.)

Added comment from Patrick:

There's an alliance of wealthy NYC financiers, suburban Republicans, the governor and many Democrats that says urban children should be educated by publicly funded schools controlled by private boards.   They've given charter schools higher per capita funding, free rent and unlimited private donations.   There will be two school systems serving very different populations.  In many ways we are returning to the school system as it existing before the creation of the public schools in the 19th century when Governor Seward took control from private boards and gave it to the elected Board of Education.

Response from Diane Ravitch: Patrick, the private boards in the 19th century educated the poorest and street urchins. I would say we are reverting to pre-Brown v Board--a dual school system. One chooses its students, the other must accept all. 

Links to the bill can be found on the Assembly web site here.

Language on rent can be found on page 71:


  21    S 5. Subdivision 3 of section 2853 of the education law is amended  by
   22  adding a new paragraph (e) to read as follows:
   23    (E)  IN  A  CITY  SCHOOL DISTRICT IN A CITY HAVING A POPULATION OF ONE
   24  MILLION  OR  MORE  INHABITANTS,  CHARTER  SCHOOLS  THAT  FIRST  COMMENCE
   25  INSTRUCTION  OR  THAT  REQUIRE  ADDITIONAL  SPACE DUE TO AN EXPANSION OF
   26  GRADE LEVEL, PURSUANT TO THIS ARTICLE, APPROVED BY THEIR CHARTER  ENTITY
   27  FOR THE TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN--TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN SCHOOL YEAR OR THER-
   28  EAFTER  AND  REQUEST  CO-LOCATION  IN  A PUBLIC SCHOOL BUILDING SHALL BE
   29  PROVIDED ACCESS TO FACILITIES PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH FOR SUCH  CHAR-
   30  TER  SCHOOLS  THAT FIRST COMMENCE INSTRUCTION OR THAT REQUIRE ADDITIONAL
   31  SPACE DUE TO AN EXPANSION OF GRADE  LEVEL,  PURSUANT  TO  THIS  ARTICLE,
   32  APPROVED BY THEIR CHARTER ENTITY FOR THOSE GRADES NEWLY PROVIDED.
   33    (1) NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW TO THE CONTRARY, WITHIN
   34  THE  LATER  OF  (I) FIVE MONTHS AFTER A CHARTER SCHOOL'S WRITTEN REQUEST
   35  FOR CO-LOCATION AND (II) THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE CHARTER SCHOOL'S  CHARTER
   36  IS  APPROVED  BY  ITS  CHARTER  ENTITY,  THE  CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT SHALL
   37  EITHER: (A) OFFER AT NO COST TO THE CHARTER SCHOOL A CO-LOCATION SITE IN
   38  A PUBLIC SCHOOL BUILDING APPROVED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION AS  PROVIDED
   39  BY  LAW,  OR  (B) OFFER THE CHARTER SCHOOL SPACE IN A PRIVATELY OWNED OR
   40  OTHER PUBLICLY OWNED FACILITY AT THE EXPENSE OF THE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
   41  AND AT NO COST TO THE CHARTER SCHOOL.  THE  SPACE  MUST  BE  REASONABLE,
   42  APPROPRIATE  AND  COMPARABLE  AND IN THE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT TO BE
   43  SERVED BY THE CHARTER SCHOOL AND OTHERWISE IN REASONABLE PROXIMITY.

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