By MARK WOODSON
The CEO of New York’s only statewide charter school advocacy organization today urged legislators to expand Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal to provide facilities aid for public charter schools outside New York City.
“Finding and affording a building continues to be the number one challenge for most charter schools throughout New York State, preventing many strong founding teams from ever opening schools, and preventing successful schools from expanding,” said Kyle Rosenkrans, CEO of the Northeast Charter Schools Network (NESCN). “Providing facility aid would allow charter schools to concentrate even more resources on students’ instructional needs, including academic programming, professional development for teachers, and other initiatives of direct benefit to students,” he said. “Right now, public charter schools both in New York City and across the rest of the state are the only public schools denied this basic investment.”
NESCN is the statewide advocacy organization for the 250-plus charter schools in New York State. These schools employ more than 11,000 professional staff, including nearly 8,000 teachers to serve 120,000 students. As the statewide membership association representing both large and small, independent and network-managed charter schools, NESCN advocates that Albany support all charter schools across the state. NECSN also supports the unfreezing of the funding formula for charter schools in New York City, while continuing to provide supplemental basic tuition payments to other areas of the state in 2016-17.
To address the lack of facilities funding and the funding inequity for charter students, NESCN has supported parents in Buffalo and Rochester in a lawsuit against New York State. The suit, Brown v. New York, says the funding scheme for charters is unconstitutional and discriminates against lower income children of color who predominantly attend charter public schools.
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