The New York State Senate has drafted a budget proposal to make sure that Eva Moskowitz gets the eight charters she wants, not just the five that Mayor Bill de Blasio approved. This is how big money talks. Under the proposal, Eva can kick the special education kids out of their school to make way for her new middle school, which has no high-needs special education students. Furthermore, the proposal would protect all rent-free co-locations, allowing handsomely funded charters whose boards include billionaires to take public space at no cost to them. Even more astonishing, charters that are co-located inside public school buildings are given the power to veto any effort to move them; in other words, the charters are given greater “rights” than the public schools that they invade.

Amazing that the Republican-dominated State Senate would write legislation that guts mayoral control to benefit one charter entrepreneur, while simultaneously undercutting the education and rights of the 94% of kids in New York City who do not go to charters.

I am no fan of mayoral control, but I am also no fan of special-interest legislation written for the protection of privately managed charters.

If ever there was a demonstration of the toxic and divisive role of charters in politics, this is it. This bill to protect the billionaires’ plaything is not about improving education for all. It is about me-first and he devil take the other 94%.

Here is a response from the Alliance for Quality Education:

For Immediate Release
For Info:
Billy Easton 518-461-9171

Alliance for Quality Education Reacts to Senate Majority Budget Resolution

The Senate Majority budget proposal adds only $217 million in new school aid—only 56% of what the Assembly added. The Senate Majority actually offers more state funding to private schools than it does to public schools by authorizing a tax credit for private schools that is estimated to cost the state at least $250 million in the first year.

“It is unconscionable that the State Senate Majority is proposing to do more for private and charter schools than for our public schools,” said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “The Senate adds $250 million in state funding for private schools, but only adds $217 million for public schools. The $250 million the Senate is giving in state financed tax credits to fund private schools should instead be invested in restoring arts, music, and high quality curriculum in our public schools. They said their priority was to cut the Gap Elimination Adjustment, but when it came time to give out the money, private schools won out.”

On privately-run charter schools the Senate Majority would make a number of changes to favor charter schools in New York City at the expense of public school students. These include:

· Increasing the amount of money that public schools are required to pay to charter schools;

· Requiring free rent for private charter schools in public school buildings;

· Overriding the decisions of Mayor de Blasio to reverse the co-location of three of Eva Moskowitz’s charter schools;

· Giving charter schools power to veto any changes in co-location arrangements, even though public schools are denied the same rights under the mayoral control legislation that the Senate Majority championed.

“The Senate Majority, Governor Cuomo and the wealthy campaign donors providing the political muscle to the charter school movement are all in synch when it comes to special treatment for charter schools,” Easton said. “While our public schools are hemorrhaging programs, the Senate Majority and the Governor have clearly signaled that privately run charter schools that serve only 3% of students top the list of priorities.”

About AQE

The Alliance for Quality Education is a coalition mobilizing communities across the state to keep New York true to its promise of ensuring a high quality public education to all students regardless of zip code, income or race. Combining its legislative and policy expertise with grassroots organizing, AQE advances proven-to-work strategies that lead to student success and echo a powerful public demand for a high quality education.