New York State reaches tentative deal on charter schools

Education reporter Art McFarland with the report.
March 28, 2014 3:25:12 PM PDT
For charter school operators like the high-profile Success Academy Network and their families, the state budget deal is, at least, a partial victory.

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Albany lawmakers have a tentative agreement on budget items that will reportedly mean more per-pupil spending for charter schools, assurances that will have space to grow, and protection against being charged for rent.

"Mayor de Blasio got hit in the jaw by state legislature," says political consultant Hank Sheinkopf.

The mayor intended to charge rent to charters, and rejected the placement of three Success Academy Schools that had been approved by the Bloomberg Administration.

"It makes people who are certainly opposed to charter schools have to take a deep breath for a moment, and it makes parents who depend on charter schools very very happy," Sheinkoppf adds.

Meanwhile, resentments continue among some parents at schools that share space with charter schools in so-called 'co-locations'.

"The charter school, they have this room, they have padded rooms, they have all these different rooms for their kids, and our kids are suffering," says P.S. 149 parent Karen Mclean.

The city's charter school movement gained political leverage after a massive rally in Albany, which featured the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and an extensive advertising campaign, which paints the mayor as an opponent of charters.

"Look at all the ads on TV, look at your YouTube ? they're everywhere," says P.S. 149 parent Sonya Hampton, "what do they need money from the governor for?"

Harlem Success parents say they want a peaceful co-existence.

"The focus should be on the children, and where they can get a good education and a quality education, "says charter school parent Mabel Moody.

Some details of the agreement are still being worked out.