David Paterson

New York

Fight over charter school funding freeze pushed to next year

After repeatedly lobbying the mayor to find more funding for charter schools, charter school leaders believe the battle in Albany is over for this year. The state's education spending for next year is still in limbo: Yesterday, Paterson vetoed a budget that included $419 million in education aid, and the legislature may or may not override the veto. But with no players — neither the governor nor the legislature — showing interest in unfreezing charter school funds, advocates are now setting their sights on next year. "People are already lining up for the 2012 budget," said James Merriman, head of the city's Charter School Center. One last hope for charter school supporters is that Mayor Bloomberg might himself un-do the funding freeze with city funds. Charter school leaders have been petitioning City Hall to fill in the funding freeze using city dollars. On Friday, the mayor made his first public call for equal per-pupil funding for charter schools in a letter sent to Governor David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson (printed in full below the jump). But the mayor stopped short of demanding that some of the funds be given to charter schools this year: It is in keeping with our commitment to fairness and equity that we treat all public schools, charter and non-charter, alike. Given the complexities involved, it would be unreasonable to think that all of the issues involved will be resolved in this session. What is essential is that we move forward with a commitment to end disproportionality.
New York

Charter schools will get $30M in one-shot plan to counter freeze

PHOTO: Alan PetersimeA Queens charter school encouraged parents and students to call Governor David Paterson and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith after it learned charter schools could see their funding frozen. Paterson and Smith are now sending the schools $30 million. (##http://picasaweb.google.com/teach11372/RenaissanceCharterRallyAndMarchAgainstCharterCuts#5319497282636828866##Nicholas##) Governor David Paterson and Malcolm Smith, the state Senate majority leader, are back in good favor with their long-lost charter school friends. Smith has just announced a plan to counteract a budget freeze that took the schools by surprise earlier this year, by sending the schools a one-time $30 million grant. The grant is less than the $51 million that charter schools were slated to lose after legislators axed planned funding increases in their recent budget deal. And it will expire at the end of next year, leaving supporters to wage a new fight  over funds then. But a source familiar with the plan who is a supporter of charter schools said that $30 million will be enough to help schools that had been imagining slashing after-school programs and turning down extra staff they'd already hired for next year. Smith announced the planned injection just now at a charter school lottery in Harlem, which Philissa is covering. The lottery is the annual event for the former City Council member Eva Moskowitz, who runs the Success Charter Network in Harlem. Harlem Success is expecting more than 5,000 parents at the lottery, which will determine which children are selected to attend the schools.
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