The charter lobby in New York State had a clever strategy: Invest campaign cash in Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and in the Republican-controlled State Senate. For years, it worked. Cuomo gave the charter industry whatever it wanted. The Republican Senate showered favors on charters, even requiring the City of New York to give them free space in public school buildings, and if they didn’t like the space, to pay their rent in private buildings. NYC is the only city in the nation that is compelled to pay the charters’ rent in private space.

However, the charter industry’s cushy arrangement fell apart last fall when progressive Democratic candidates beat Republican incumbents and took control of the State Senate, thus assuring Democratic control of both houses. The new leader of the Democrats in the Senate, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, was insulted in 2017 by the billionaire hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, who was then chair of the board of Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charter chain.

The charter industry wants more charters in New York City, because they have reached the cap. There are still unused charter slots in the state but not in the city. So the lobbyists want either to lift the cap or to let the city have the unused charter slots from the rest of the state.

Peter Goodman, long-time analyst of education politics in New York, predicts that the industry will get neither because the politicians they backed are no longer in office:

Not only will the charter school cap not be lifted it is possible legislation hostile to charter schools may be folded into the “big ugly.”

A few bills dealing with the reauthorization of charter schools and the auditing of charter schools have just been introduced.

Factions will advocate, seek allies, lobby electeds and as the adjournment date, June 19th approaches totally disparate bills will be linked, factions will find “friends,” at least for the moment.

Elections have consequences, charter PAC dollars “elected” Republicans who used their leverage to pass charter friendly legislation; an election cycle later Democrats defeated the charter PAC endorsed candidates, elections have consequences, the leverage switched, and, we can expect that legislation more friendly to teacher unions and public school advocates may become law.