Opposition is getting more vocal to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to increase the number of charter schools in New York City as part of the state budget, including among some of the very people she’ll need votes from to pass her budget.

“The answer is no. The answer is no. The answer is hell no,” state Sen. Robert Jackson, a Manhattan Democrat, said at a rally outside City Hall Friday.

The state Senate gets a vote on the governor’s budget, and among some senators, her proposal to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the city was received about as warmly as Friday’s frigid weather.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed lifting a regional cap on the number of charter schools serving the city

  • It's part of her budget plan, which would need approval from the state Senate and Assembly

  • But a group of state Senators gathered with advocates Friday to say any increase in charters in the city was a non-starter

Hochul insists she’s not looking to raise the overall charter cap, which in New York City was hit in 2019, but rather wants to eliminate regional caps, allowing charters unused upstate to be used here.

“I could have said, well, I want a thousand. I said let’s just go with the number you all agreed to — why is there a disparity between the number of charters upstate and downstate? Let’s just combine them and be done,” she told NY1’s Errol Louis during an appearance on “Inside City Hall” on Thursday.

State Sen. John Liu, a Queens Democrat who chairs the state Senate’s New York City Education Committee, says the cap specifically for the city exists for a reason.

“That cap was put in place to preserve some kind of balance. Some people say we should bring that cap down to zero. But right now it’s been in place. Let’s not disturb that balance,” Liu said.

Liu wasn’t the only chair of an influential senate committee rallying against Hochul’s plan — he was joined by state Senator Shelley Mayer, a Westchester Democrat who chairs the education committee.

“This is a really flawed proposal. The governor should withdraw it,” Mayer said.

Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run and rarely unionized. Critics argue the charter schools divert funding and space from public school classrooms, particularly in cases where they are located in the same building.

“This takes away from the public school students. It shows them inequity, it shows disparities, and it sends a message that we’ve given up on traditional public schools,” said Manhattan state Sen. Cordell Cleare.

Backers of charters note that traditional public schools are getting more funding from the state than ever and argue they offer parents an alternative to — and better outcomes than — traditional public schools.

“Instead of creating and perpetuating myths about public charter schools, elected officials should take the time to listen to families in their own communities who are overwhelmingly in favor of charters,” James Merriman, the CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, said in a statement.

What ends up in the final budget remains to be seen. The process notoriously involve lots of deal-making, and these state senators say they’re going to make sure this proposal isn’t part of any deal.

“This is a resounding no from many members of the New York State Democratic conference. We are concerned, we are outraged, this is not ok, it will not stand,” Queens state Sen. Jessica Ramos said.