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charter school facilities
February 26, 2015
Three delayed co-locations approved after Fariña reins in concerns
The plans were approved only after a debate about how to make sure they wouldn't impede the city’s efforts to turn around other struggling schools.
the new space wars
December 23, 2014
City will grant 12 of 24 charter school co-location requests, including 10 from Success
The city plans to offer space in public school buildings to 10 Success Academy charter schools and two Icahn charter schools, but not to 12 other schools that requested it, officials said Tuesday.
November 18, 2014
Beneath makeshift classroom, charter schools make a case for facilities funds
Charter school students bundled up for a field trip to the city’s oldest public park on Tuesday, but the lesson was more about modern politics than history.
November 14, 2014
Sidestepping cap issue, independent charters to push for facilities funding
Next Tuesday, charter-school advocates will call for the state to provide facilities funding for existing schools, setting the stage for one piece of the sector’s upcoming fight for more favorable legislation.
the new space wars
September 4, 2014
De Blasio lays out vision for charter school co-location rules
In his most expansive remarks on charter schools since March, the mayor said he would will soon set a “clear standard” for charter schools that want co-located space. He indicated that he could try to measure schools by how they serve high-needs students, their student retention rates, and even how much they “teach to the test.”
March 29, 2014
Pre-K funds, charter school protections, and Common Core changes in state budget deal
New York State reached agreement for a new spending plan, allocating pre-K funds for New York City, effectively reversing Success Academy co-location reversals, and laying out a process for new city charter schools to receive facilities support.
March 6, 2014
Cuomo lends support to solving charter school space issue with legislation
"The question becomes, what should the criteria for co-location be? And If you're against co-location, then what's the alternative for a charter school?" Gov. Cuomo asked today.
January 31, 2014
Memo offers early glimpse at charter leaders' efforts to work with de Blasio
A group of charter school leaders eager to get along with the new administration are working behind the scenes to address concerns raised by Mayor Bill de Blasio, though their framework draws the line on rent.
August 13, 2013
Hidary, vying to be an education mayor, lacks a college degree
He shares the mayor's background as a tech entrepreneur, but there are some differences between candidate Jack Hidary and Michael Bloomberg. For starters, Hidary does not have a college degree. A self-made entrepreneur, Hidary attended Columbia University and studied philosophy and neuroscience but left school to complete a fellowship in clinical neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health. He never graduated from Columbia or anywhere else, according to a spokesman for his campaign. The businessman also told GothamSchools that he would charge charter schools fees to use space in district school buildings, a move that would reverse Bloomberg's policy of letting the schools operate rent-free in public space. Charter advocates say that to charge rent would cripple charter schools' ability to serve students, but critics say space-sharing causes overcrowding and tension inside school buildings. "Charter co-location should continue as long as a reasonable cost is charged to such charters for co-location fees," Hidary said. "These fees can be phased in over the next few years to address any budget issues between public schools and charter schools." Hidary, who has raised more than $430,000 since entering the mayoral race in June, recently completed a GothamSchools questionnaire about how he would run the city's schools with answers that ranged from vague to decisive.
April 29, 2013
Judge dismisses suit to make co-located charter schools to pay rent
A judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking $100 million in rent from charter schools that have for years occupied space for free in public school buildings. The lawsuit, filed by parents and advocates nearly two years ago, claimed that the city Department of Education was in violation of state education law by giving city-owned space to privately managed charter schools at no charge. The parents estimated that the annual free ride cost more than $96 million, a total they sought to steer toward hiring more teachers to reduce class sizes after years of budget cuts. New York State Supreme Court Judge Barbara Jaffe didn't rule on the fundamental issue of whether charter schools should pay rent. Instead, she ruled that it is not the court's role to settle disputes over state education law. She said that must first go through the State Education Department, a precedent that was established in the UFT's 2010 suit against rising class sizes. But even as Jaffe ruled against the parent groups, she wrote that the concerns they raised were legitimate. The charter sector has thrived under the Bloomberg administration, which has awarded free space to more than 60 percent of 159 charter schools. The schools are often placed alongside existing schools in a controversial arrangement known as "co-location." Critics have said that the policy introduces stark inequities and breeds unnecessary tension, issues that Jaffe suggested were valid. "There is no dispute that charter schools, through public funding and private donations, have access to more financial resources than those available to traditional public schools," Jaffe wrote. Those resources, she continued, are used for improvements for charter schools that are "within the full view of traditional public school students."
January 3, 2012
Judge issues setback in effort to make charter schools pay rent
A judge today rejected a midyear effort to collect more than $100 million in rent and facility fees from co-located charter schools. The ruling is at least a temporary blow for parent activists who filed a lawsuit last year that challenged a long-standing Department of Education policy to give rent-free public school space to charter schools. The judge hasn't ruled on that larger issue, but he said today that the merits of the lawsuit weren't strong enough to immediately force the DOE to begin collecting rent before a final decision is made. "It would be extremely harmful to wrench charter school students from their school of choice during a school year, should any charter school be unable to pay for renting public school space, forcing these students to seek placement elsewhere," New York State Supreme Court Judge Paul Feinman wrote in his decision today. About two-thirds of the city's 136 charter schools are currently sited in public space and the lawsuit claims that the DOE has an obligation, based on state law, to charge rent. Class Size Matters' Leonie Haimson, a lead plaintiff on the lawsuit, has estimated that the DOE has lost out on more than $100 million, which she has said could be used to reduce class sizes by hiring more teachers.
December 22, 2011
Holiday feast in Flatbush unifies a district and charter school
In some shared school buildings, district and charter schools struggle over scarce resources. In Flatbush, they are sharing their bounty. Fahari Academy Charter School and M.S. 246, Walt Whitman Middle School, held a potluck holiday dinner Wednesday in their shared gymnasium. The event, billed as a showcase for the schools' working relationship, comes as the year's fights over new co-locations start to heat up. Fahari and Walt Whitman staff enjoying the food choices at a joint holiday potluck. The walls were spruced up with red drapes, silver tinsel, and strings of lights, and long tables decorated with poinsettias and silver candelabras were set in a semi-circle to encourage mingling between the schools. A deejay kept a holiday playlist going as attendees selected from dozens of buffet options, heaping their plates with jerk chicken, baked ziti, and curried goat. Catina Venning, Fahari’s executive director, and Bently Warrington, Walt Whitman’s principal, said they hope that the respectful relationship they have worked to establish will trickle down to staff and students. While this is the first shared holiday party, the schools have worked together on other initiatives, including a community cleanup last June. The event was planned by a committee made up of two representatives from each school. The vision was a winter wonderland and the responsibilities were split between the schools: Walt Whitman took on most of the cooking and Fahari focused on the decorations. Fahari opened in the M.S. 246 building in 2009. During the co-location's first two years, as Fahari expanded from fifth to sixth grade, the schools experienced some kinks as the two leaders adjusted to each other’s styles and established protocols for divvying up common facilities. Fahari also experienced difficulties of its own, including a D on the city's progress report and concerns about school culture that led to a successful unionization effort by its teachers. “In the beginning, it was difficult, I’m not going to lie,” Venning said.
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