NY Charter Schools Are Desperate for More State Funding

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Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature are being called on by teachers, parents, and students from 10 different charter schools around Rochester to increase funding for this year’s school budgets, according to the Democrat and Chronicle.

These privately operated and publicly funded charter schools do not have access to the same funding streams that traditional public schools have.

The Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN), which organized the Rochester rally, estimated that charter schools in the area receive only 68 cents for every dollar, as compared to traditional public schools.

Over the past decade, charter schools in Rochester have seen higher numbers of enrollment, with about 4,600 city students attending charter schools this year, as well as some students who live in the suburbs.

Many charter opponents are openly complaining that school districts are losing resources and talented students because charter schools are supposed to receive about $12,000 in funding for each student enrolled from that student’s home district. According to the NECSN, the real figure may be substantially lower.

It’s difficult to argue with the charter schools, considering they generally post higher marks on standardized tests than city public schools.

However, accusations of financial and academic chicanery have led to increased competition for funding between charter organizations and public schools for increased state funds, some asking for as much as an additional $2.9 billion in funding.

“Thousands of charter kids around the state and right here in Rochester deserve facilities support and equitable funding,” said NECSN Advocacy Manager Duncan Kirkwood. “These are our children and their education is worth just as much as every other child’s.”

It’s not just Rochester charter schools that are pleading to Governor Cuomo. The New York Post reported that teachers, parents, students, and elected officials spent Thursday, March 3, at the Harriet Tubman Charter School in The Bronx raising awareness for the need for additional charter school funding.

Participating supporters of charter schools were calling, e-mailing, tweeting, and Facebooking lawmakers in Albany.

While new and expanding charter schools in NYC finally received state facilities funding, the legislation left out older charter schools.

The charter school predominantly serves low-income African American and Hispanic children. These students have continuously surpassed the public district in state math and English exams by double-digit margins.

Charter schools serve an important purpose in low-income areas considering these families do not have the money to move homes along with the 45 million people who move every year.

However, they wouldn’t have to move for a good education if there are better alternatives than local public schools available.

Currently, most of the funding goes toward fixing leaky pipes and paying for heat instead of funding the costs for more teachers, social workers, and other important resources. In fact, charters are the only public schools that operate in New York state who are forced to pay for their own facilities.