Monday, June 14, 2010

Merriman's appeal: political payback time for the charter school lobby

James Merriman of the Charter School Center sent out an alert to charter school leaders over the weekend, urging them to attend an important meeting tomorrow with Deputy Mayor Walcott to which the Mayor is invited as well.

At the meeting, the charter school lobby will ask the city to voluntarily increase funding for charters out of the city’s discretionary funds, if the state maintains the freeze on per pupil charter funding that occurred last year.

Merriman’s appeal is nakedly political, and he writes that the mayor needs to pay them back for their support for his re-election and extension of unlimited mayoral control (as well as the charter cap lift, though why that benefited him more than them is unclear.):

The Mayor has been a strong supporter, but it is your unprecedented record of success that has allowed him to hold up New York City as a model of educational achievement. It was your results that helped make such a strong case in Albany for the recent cap lift. It was your parents who rooted him on during the mayoral control battle and his re-election campaign. We've been there for him and now he needs to be there for us.


Meanwhile, even if charter schools have suffered a one year freeze, our district schools have had their budgets slashed to the bone. If the 4% cut now being proposed goes through, their budgets will have been cut by 12% since 2007.

As it is, the overall charter school budget is still growing fast -- because of increased enrollment, which is estimated to grow another 31% next year. Even if the per student freeze is maintained, charter school funding will cost the city an estimated $545 million next year.

If the mayor accedes to the charter lobby’s demands, it will be yet another sign how politics rules at City Hall; and how charters continue to get favorable treatment compared to district schools.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

$545 Million? Where did you get that figure? Is this more or less than the city would have spent on the equivalent number of kids attending zoned schools?