Mayoral Candidates Discuss Charters at Forum with Families for Excellent Schools

WNYC // June 13, 2013

Four Democratic NYC mayoral candidates made their pitch to charter school advocates in a forum on Tuesday. The event, organized by Families for Excellent Schools, hosted candidates Anthony Weiner, Christine Quinn, Sal Albanese, and John Liu in front of a large crowd that included many charter school parents and students. Candidates Bill Thompson and Bill de Blasio had said they would participate but then canceled, citing scheduling issues.

WNYC’s SchoolBook reports on the forum:

[Weiner] said if it turns out it’s good for children to use space in a school building for a charter he’s for it, but if it turns out it’s better for a music or chemistry lab, he’s for that, too.

Similarly, neither Quinn nor Weiner would rule out the option of closing a failing school. Quinn, who called school closings a “tragedy” for communities, explained, “I can’t promise you we’re never going to close the school when I’m Mayor.”

“If we’ve intervened and we’re not able to get the school to be on point and succeed, we can’t keep it open – that’s not fair to children and their parents. Now, that said, I don’t want to hold up a number of schools to close and make that my goal was mayor. I want to work with all of you and other parents to hold up a number of schools that we are going to improve as our goal.”

By contrast, former Councilman Sal Albanese and Comptroller John Liu took a harder line against school closings and co-locations. Both called for more community involvement before moving a charter into a regular school building. And Liu was booed when he said charters should pay rent if they move into district school buildings.