Dems attack charter schools during budget battle

NY state Democrats are taking the battle over the budget as a sign that a weakened Gov. Kathy Hochul is in a vulnerable position to hurt school children again by favoring the teachers’ union.

Union advocate Assembly Education Committee Chair Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx) introduced a bill again from the Senate that would stop charter schools from expanding classroom grade offerings as schools grow over the years.

There are only 460 charter schools allowed statewide, but they can add new grade levels as students grow older — a loophole union proponents want to close.

“There’s a whole multitude of problems that exist with arbitrarily letting a charter expand their horizons, and where does it stop? Benedetto said of his new bill.

How about it ends in a system that offers better educational outcomes for many minority children.

While Hochul is holding out on passing a budget to get concessions on issues like charters, legislative leaders remain deadlocked in budget talks 20 days past an April 1 deadline.

Approximately 100 more charters could open in New York City if Hochul can convince Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) and state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) to go along.

The first proposal would eliminate the 275-charter limit within the five boroughs while the second proposal would allow so-called “zombie” charter school licenses to be reissued — ideas many Democratic legislators fervently oppose with the support of teachers’ unions who have showered many of them with campaign cash.

Union allies said Thursday they were not budging — no matter the pressure from Hochul.

“There’s no room for wiggly because there is no wiggliness necessary,” state Senate New York City Education Chair John Liu (D-Queens) said when asked if he had any “wiggle room” on allowing more charters.

The fact that the Democrats are politicizing better educational options for New York City children demonstrates how bought they are to the teachers’ union.


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