Like most New Yorkers who are heading to the polls today, voters this morning in Bushwick said they were supporting Democrat Bill de Blasio, even if they don’t agree with all of his education positions.
Ingrid Declet, 46, whose granddaughter is in second grade at a charter school in Bushwick, said she agreed with de Blasio on most issues — but not his desire to rein in charter schools.
“I don’t think he should take away charter schools,” she said, adding that her granddaughter’s school offers dance, music, and Spanish classes in addition to the core academic subjects. “I think they’re doing a little better than regular schools.”
(De Blasio has not said he would work to close any charter schools in the city. But some charter school advocates have portrayed his plan to charge rent to charter schools that use space in public school buildings as an existential threat.)
Matt Simons, whose 4-year-old daughter rode her scooter beside him into the polling site, said that while charter schools “serve a good purpose,” he had been happy to see de Blasio fix his attention on district schools.
“The focus should be on local schools and making sure they have enough money to run their classrooms,” said Simons, 44, who added that de Blasio’s bid to charge rent to charter schools in public buildings “seems fair.”
Wynn, a Bushwick resident in the entertainment industry who declined to give his last name, said that he had benefitted from pre-kindergarten when he was a child, and so backed de Blasio’s plan to fund universal pre-K by taxing wealthy residents.
“I’m in a higher-income bracket myself,” he said. “But I still think that’s fair.”
Rosa Carchipulla, 42, a city bus driver, said she was eager for de Blasio to guarantee school bus drivers the job protections that Bloomberg had not guaranteed, which led to a strike earlier this year.
“I have to pray,” she said, after parking her empty bus to run inside a polling site to vote.
Charles Johnson, a coordinator at a polling cite on Himrod Street in Bushwich, said he voted for a ballot measure that would permit seven new casinos in New York, whose tax revenues could funnel $94 million to the city’s schools, according to an estimate by the State Budget Office. But he added that he is skeptical that lawmakers would deliver all the promised funds to the school system.
“They’re milking the people for their money, but using it for their benefit,”said Johnson, 63, adding that “seeing is believing” when it comes to school funding.