NEW YORK—Charter schools in New York City won’t grow an inch, if Mayor Bill de Blasio continues with his current stance.
Charter schools—operated by non-profits but funded by public money—educate some 70,000 children in the city, mostly relying on spaces in public schools.
But it seems their golden time of growth could end abruptly, as the new Mayor let it be known he won’t support them as Michael Bloomberg did. “We’re going to be instituting moratorium from this point forward,” de Blasio said on the Brian Lehrer’s Show Monday with regard to any new or pending co-locations.
Co-locations—that is, moving one school to share a building with another one—has been the main method charter schools have relied on to grow. But de Blasio called the current co-location process “a broken one that didn’t consult with parents and communities effectively.”
Until the new system is in place, 42 co-locations that should come into effect starting in September are under review and new ones won’t be approved.
That may be a problem for many young charter schools, which need to add new classes every year as their students grow up.
Meanwhile, the city’s Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor proposed a change to the DOE capital budget on Friday, that would, if approved, cut the whole $210 million budget for charter school class space construction.
De Blasio said it is not yet certain where the money would go instead, but said there are pressing issues of overcrowding in Queens, north-shore Staten Island, East and West Side, as well as the need for new prekindergarten seats.
His signature plan for universal pre-k requires adding class space for tens of thousands 4-year-olds by the end of next year.