MANHATTAN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Students, parents and education advocates on Tuesday rallied outside the governor’s Manhattan office to send her a message. They do not want any more charter schools across the five boroughs.
Gov. Kathy Hochul is proposing to lift the regional cap on charter schools in the state budget. Hochul said the goal is to give parents more of a school choice. However, some believe this will take away from New York City’s public school education.
Zakiyah Ansari, the advocacy director for Alliance for Quality Education, said enrollment is down, which is often cited by the mayor to cut the public schools budget. Charter school enrollment is also down, so there’s no reason to add more schools, according to Ansari.
The charter school cap of 275 has already been reached in New York City. The governor’s state budget is proposing to raise the cap to add about 75 more schools across the five boroughs.
Charter schools are publicly funded and privately run. The city has been on the hook to pay rent for a charter school and tuition for every student since former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who’s a big proponent of school choice.
Only 14% of New York City’s roughly one million students attend charter schools chosen by a lottery system.
Brooklyn resident Melissa Hodgson works at a high school but chose to send her children to a charter school. Hodgson lives in Flatbush and said she wanted a smaller classroom setting for her children and wasn’t satisfied with the public school options in her neighborhood. She chose Ascend Charter Schools in Brooklyn for her children to attend.
“They do have a lot more activities and extra-curricular stuff to do after school because of the setting of the school,” Hodgson said. “They’re a close-knit family, and the kids love it.”