Advocacy Group Opposes Charter Schools Construction Cuts
NEW YORK—A charter school advocacy group is alarmed by the funding cuts to a charter school construction program proposed by the New York City Department of Education (DOE) Friday.
On Friday, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced changes to the DOE capital program that would divert $210 million, or the entire budget of the charter school construction program, toward the creation of additional prekindergarten seats.
Phillips said charter school students will lose their schools if cut off from construction funding as well as spaces in public schools.
“Educational homelessness for public charter school students is now the official policy of the De Blasio administration,” stated the President of the Northeast Charter Schools Network Bill Phillips in a press release.
The city’s Education Department has not given any signal that it would revoke the existing charter school spaces in public school buildings.
However, the department is currently reviewing pending co-locations granted by the Bloomberg administration. A co-location is when a new school shares space with another school in a public school building.
Meanwhile a lawsuit against the DOE, led by a group of parents and supported by Public Advocate Letitia James, calls for those co-locations to be scrapped.
If the co-locations are reverted, some charter schools may be unable to add additional grades and their students in the highest grades may need to transfer to other schools.
De Blasio also said during his campaign that he would charge charter schools rent for public school spaces on a sliding scale.
The charter school construction program that had its funding diverted has funded construction of new class spaces through partnerships between the DOE, charter schools operators, and developers who would bring in private investments. Nine buildings were constructed this way since 2005.