Gov. Kathy Hochul is facing pushback from the state Legislature on her proposal to add more charter schools in the city. But on Tuesday, she got some support from parents at a City Hall rally.
Several hundred parents and activists held a late-morning rally outside City Hall to support Hochul’s charter school proposals.
What You Need To Know
- Outside City Hall on Tuesday, parents and pro-charter groups rallied in favor of more charter schools in the city
- Hochul wants to increase the number of charter schools in the five boroughs
- Her proposal is opposed by most Democratic legislators
Hochul has proposed eliminating the regional cap on charters, and allowing so-called zombie charters to open. Zombie charters are schools that have been approved, but were never given the resources to open their doors to students.
“Well there is a groundswell of support for it,” Hochul told reporters in Rochester. “I know right now in New York City there is upwards of a thousand, even more parents, who are simply saying what I believe, which is that they deserve to have choice. Children deserve to have options.”
Next week, the Assembly and state Senate will pass their one house budgets, which establish their negotiating positions in state budget talks. Sources tell NY1 that the Assembly rejects the governor’s charter proposals in their own budget plan.
Democratic Assemblymember Brian Cunningham of Brooklyn was one of the few Assembly Democrats to attend the pro-charter rally.
“I think part of what I’ve always said is that New Yorkers make choices every single day,” Cunningham said. “We choose whether we are going to eat in, or take out. We choose whether we are going to take the train or drive our cars, or jump in a cab. Choices are part of the human existence, and I think what we should be looking at is how we create choice and options for parents who want those choices and options.”
Parents and pro-charter school groups are joined by @NYAMCunningham for a rally at City Hall in support of @GovKathyHochul’s plan to eliminate the charter cap, and allow zombie charters.— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) March 7, 2023
Both ideas have been rejected in @NYSA_Majority one house budget pic.twitter.com/kCgoxbIsfQ
Michael Benedetto, the chair of the Standing Committee on Education, canceled an on camera interview with NY1.
But state Sen. John Liu of Queens opposes any new charters.
“The charter cap in New York City has been in place for many years,” Liu said. “It was put in place to preserve the ability for New York City to keep all of our public schools open while giving some parents some measure of choice. At a time when school enrollment has been declining both at charter schools as well as in public schools, it doesn’t seem to make any sense to increase the cap at this point.”
Hochul says giving parents options is a better way to go.
“I can’t tell a parent in a community where they want to have a different option for their children that that option does not exist,” Hochul said. “That’s why I am pursuing the opportunity to give choice to parents.”
How hard Hochul fights to keep her charter school expansion in the final budget due in April remains to be seen. But most Democratic lawmakers are thoroughly opposed, as is the powerful union that represents teachers.