The push for privatization continues at the state and federal level
The NY budget was signed, sealed and delivered last Monday - eight days past the deadline.
We dodged one bullet in that the Assembly managed to block lifting the charter school cap, which would have been disastrous for NYC. Yet Foundation aid, designed to go primarily to high-needs public schools, was short-changed once again -- with a mere $700 million added statewide. This was less than the $900 million proposed by the Republican/IDC-led Senate, and far less than either the $1.4 billion put forward by the Democratic-led Assembly or the $1.8 billion increase recommended by the Board of Regents.
Foundation aid was established after the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit was settled, requiring that NY funds public schools equitably. Yet Governor Cuomo has refused to do so, and again, he apparently won out in last week's budget agreement.
At the same time, funding for charter schools was increased by $50 million, while the supplement that NYC must pay to charters to pay for their rent in private space was boosted to 30% per charter student -- which will cost the DOE an estimated $8 million above what they currently must spend on charter leases.
This is evidence yet again of preferential treatment for NYC charters, where we have the most overcrowded public schools in the state. There seems to be little or no concern about the fact that currently 550,000 NYC public school students are jammed into overcrowded facilities, according to DOE data.
Why the insistence on guaranteeing more funding and space to NYC charter schools by the Governor and the Republican-led Senate? Is it the huge financial contributions made to these politicians from pro-charter groups such as New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, which spent $5.2 million electing Republican State Senators, or the vast amounts received by Cuomo from the same bunch of pro-charter hedge funders ?
Fred LeBrun of the Times-Union said it best in explaining the influence of the charter lobby in Albany and elsewhere:
It's not the charter schools I referenced above that hold the power, and certainly not the 122,000 or so young New Yorkers who attend them, predominantly in New York City. It's the relative few billionaire hedge fund investors in charters looking for the return on their investment who would have the ability to hold up our budget until they get theirs. Because they in turn have become generous contributors to the governor and the Republican Senate. Again, the political donors benefit directly from the actions the governor and senators take on their behalf.....I can hear the charter crowd screaming that they are also public schools, because it says so in the legislation creating them. That's a lot of hooey.... They areNYC Public School Parents: The push for privatization continues at the state and federal level: