New York City could come less than 10 spots away from its legal cap on charter school openings if state policymakers approve an entire list of requests this week.
The New York State Board of Regents will consider the proposals on Monday and Tuesday, when the 17 members will continue an October discussion over legislative priorities and state aid.
Here’s what we’ll be watching.
New York City has steadily closed in on its charter-school cap. Just last month, the SUNY Charter Schools Institute — the other entity besides the Regents that can consider such applications — approved 11 city charter-school proposals, all within Brooklyn and the Bronx.
The latest list of requests includes seven proposals, six of them in New York City, and all with target openings next fall. If the Regents green-light all seven proposals, eight slots would remain in New York City and 86 would remain statewide, according to state education officials.
The cap on charter schools developed as lawmakers decided that swift expansion of charters, which are privately run but publicly funded, could hurt local school districts.
The Board of Regents has appeared ambivalent on charter schools, sometimes approving them, other times rejecting them and also questioning whether the sector serves its fair-share of high-needs students.
This week’s charter decision comes right as New Yorkers will head to the polls Tuesday for an election that could flip the state Senate to Democratic control. Either way, legislators may grapple with whether to preserve or lift the cap at the start of the next legislative session in January 2019. And if control of the chamber does switch, some prevailing stances on state education policies are also likely to change.
Some progressive Democratic candidates want to hold firm on the charter cap, while others already in office have previously proposed stricter oversight of the sector. Such proposals have failed to pass in the past, but they could be successful in a Democratic-controlled senate.
The Regents will also continue discussing funding requests for next year, carrying over a discussion at their October meeting. These could involve bullying-prevention resources and a focus on English language learners, including the creation of an English language proficiency test for those learning English who have severe cognitive disabilities.
In addition, the Regents could decide to prioritize access to high-quality early education programs and consider specific policy suggestions to address this goal.
Here is the list of New York City charter requests the Regents will consider this week:
-AECI II: NYC Charter High School for Computer Engineering and Innovation (Bronx)
-Bronx Arts and Science Charter School (Bronx)
-Brooklyn RISE Charter School (Brooklyn)
-Education Unlimited Lyceum Charter School (Manhattan)
-LEEP Dual Language Academy Charter School (Brooklyn)
-Staten Island Hebrew Public Charter School (Staten Island)