Despite Charter School Success, NYC Mayor Wants to Slow Down Growth

The Economist // February 15, 2014

According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), New York City is one of the biggest school districts in the country that enrolls a large number of students into charter schools. Despite continued success, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is trying to slow down the growth of charter schools.

According to the Economist, de Blasio plans to divert $210 million allocated for charter schools to help fund a universal prekindergarten program. Also, de Blasio is charging charter schools rent for the space they share with public schools:

Mr de Blasio wants to charge charters rent if they are sharing space with the 1.1m pupils in district schools. Because charters receive no state funding for facility costs and rents in the Big Apple are so high, Michael Bloomberg, Mr de Blasio’s predecessor, allowed them free use of under-utilised space in traditional public schools. Of the 183 charters in New York City, 115 are “co-located”, sharing canteens, libraries and gyms. If they were suddenly charged rent, many would struggle. The 68 charters not sharing space with a district school have to fork out an average of $515,137 for facilities each year. The Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, calculates that charging rent could force 71% of co-located charters into deficit.

The article goes on to discuss why slowing charter school growth will harm New York City education:

These new policies are likely to be unpopular. New York City’s charter schools generally outperform their neighbouring district schools. In some cases charters have not merely closed the racial achievement gap, but actually reversed it. Most New Yorkers want more of them.