De­tails Dis­closed of Mayor's Deal on Char­ter Schools

The Jewish Voice - - NEW YORK - By Han­nah Hayes

On Thurs­day, July 6, a whole week af­ter Al­bany de­cided to ex­tend the mayor’s con­trol over schools, de Bla­sio’s ad­min­is­tra­tion fi­nally re­vealed the terms of its side of the deal re­gard­ing char­ter schools.

Ac­cord­ing to The Post, “The agree­ment says the city will al­low the char­ter sec­tor to re-use char­ter cer­tifi­cates that were is­sued to schools but that are no longer be­ing used — largely in the case of so-called “zom­bie” schools that have closed. Char­ter of­fi­cials said there are cur­rently 22 such schools in New York City, which ef­fec­tively dou­bles the num­ber of avail­able cer­tifi­cates in the five bor­oughs from 23 to 45. Rais­ing the char­ter school cap was a stick­ing point dur­ing the de­bates in Al­bany, but Assem­bly Speaker Carl Heastie re­fused to en­ter­tain a leg­isla­tive so­lu­tion.”

The only way Mayor de Bla­sio was able to main­tain con­trol of the schools was by ac­cept­ing this com­pro­mise, an in­sider told The Post.

A char­ter sec­tor of­fi­cial, whose fam­i­lier with the de­lib­er­a­tions, told the pub­li­ca­tion, “Al­bany made it clear to the city that they had to do this stuff. Se­na­tor Ma­jor­ity [Leader] Flana­gan and Gover­nor Cuomo said in or­der to get may­oral con­trol ex­tended, the mayor had to do right by char­ters.”

Other terms that the city agreed to, in­clude: pro­vid­ing char­ter stu­dents with Metrocards if their schools start be­fore yel­low bus ser­vice; promis­ing to re­spond swiftly to com­plaints about con­di­tions in any school build­ing; and agreed to bu­reau­cratic so­lu­tions to the process by which char­ter schools ob­tain ac­cess to pub­lic space.

The pro-char­ter group Stu­dentsFirstNY’s di­rec­tor Jenny Sedlis said, “Char­ters have been bat­tling with the de Bla­sio ad­min­is­tra­tion for the last four years but thanks to Al­bany lead­ers, pro­duc­tive con­ver­sa­tions led to an agree­ment that’s good for all pub­lic school kids. Par­ents will have ac­cess to more school op­tions and char­ter op­er­a­tors will get sig­nif­i­cant re­lief.”

Char­ter schools were de­scribed by City Hall spokes­woman Freddi Gold­stein, as an “im­por­tant part­ner” in pro­vid­ing stu­dents with an ex­cel­lent ed­u­ca­tion.

She said, “Through the de­bate over may­oral con­trol, we iden­ti­fied a few com­mon-sense ar­eas where we could bet­ter work to­gether to en­sure all 1.1 mil­lion school chil­dren have a chance to suc­ceed.”

“We iden­ti­fied a few com­mon-sense ar­eas where we could bet­ter work to­gether to en­sure all 1.1 mil­lion school chil­dren have a chance to suc­ceed.”

Mayor Bill de Bla­sio fi­nally re­leased his side of the agree­ment re­gard­ing char­ter schools, a week af­ter may­oral con­trol was ex­tended by Al­bany. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

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