NEW YORK (PIX11) – The New York State Legislature last week formally rejected Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal to allow more charter schools in New York City. However, nothing is set in stone as the state budget is due on April 1.
One Bronx principal is now speaking out, trying to show state lawmakers and education advocates the disparities of resources in a building that houses a public school and a charter school. He’s asking for help to make education more equitable for all students.
Principal Luis Torres of PS 55 says being compared to the co-located charter school, which is publicly funded but privately run, is unfair because the resources for the student population are not equal.
At PS 55, 22% of the students have an Individualized Education Program (EIP), 7% are special needs children who require a smaller classroom setting, and more than 16% of students live in public housing, according to city data. At Success Academy, located in the same building, 15% of students have EIPs, less than 1% have special needs, and 11% live in public housing.
“If a child is low performing based on data, but if I get the child to be a productive citizen, then I feel that’s [a] success,” Torres said.
The school provides everything, from dental and health care to hot meals for all families. About $23 million in public funding has been used to improve communal space with new windows.
An upgraded cafeteria with library space, a hydroponic farm, a new soccer field, and a music studio are on the way.
Education advocates are calling for more equitable funding so all students can reap the same benefits.
Success Academy says they have secured at least $15 million in public funding to improve more than 33 communal spaces in co-located schools.
“For more than a decade, Success Academy has led in partnering with co-located schools to secure city funding for more than 30 renovation projects — all for shared campus spaces — from new playgrounds to auditoriums to general building upgrades,” said Ann Powell with Success Academy.