Parents and advocates rallied outside of Governor Kathy Hochul’s Midtown office Tuesday afternoon in opposition of publicly funded, privately run charter schools being expanded across the Big Apple.
Earlier this month, Governor Hochul suggested new city charters be issued for the first time since 2019, forgoing the current cap. While this is still just a proposal, concerned parents argue that the plan would siphon millions of dollars from public school funding, in addition to increasing rent prices and tuition for those who rely on the current system.
Julissa Bisono is a mother who says she not only grew up in the public school system, but now her young son is also doing the same. She told amNewYork Metro that she is extremely worried about the prospect and is fearful for her son’s future.
“Our schools are already underfunded and now we are going to do more budget cuts to the schools instead of focusing on bringing in more resources,” Bisono said, clinging to her son. “So, we are here today because we’re saying we want to stop the expansion. Every penny, every dollar that is given to charter is money that has been taken away from our public schools.”
Protesting outside of 633 3rd Avenue, the rally, hosted by advocacy group Make the Road New York, called upon the state legislature to reject the proposal outright. The fuming parents didn’t mince words when it came to showing their frustration, with some even brandishing signs that accused the governor of being in the pocket of charter schools. Speakers likewise renounced that 80 to 100 new charter schools could be created as a result of the agenda, something that parents said would cripple the schools.
“It is deeply disappointing that when we should be celebrating the fulfillment of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and Foundation Aid, we are here raising the alarm about the disproportionate impact that lifting the regional charter cap would have on New York City schools, the very birthplace of CFE. Without an immediate remedy NYC public school students will continue to be shortchanged and denied opportunities. We urge the State Legislature to unequivocally reject this proposal and maintain the regional cap as is as well as not authorize ‘zombie charters,” Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education said.
Speakers argued that the charter school budget is Allred’s ballooning at about $3 billion and hammered home as required to pay rent for charter schools, communities could be decimated.
“I want to tell the Governor that expanding charter schools will hurt our public schools even more. As a parent, I believe in the public school system. Even though every day our schools lose essential resources every year, we are here to ask the legislature and the Governor to invest in our public schools and to stop funding charter schools,” parent Bibiana Hoyos said.
In response to the rally, a spokesperson for the governor’s office told amNewYork Metro that Hochul believes every parent deserves the right to access the same education available to the rest of New York State. Additionally, the demand for charter schools have increased, as have the waitlists.
“Governor Hochul believes every student deserves a quality education, and New York City parents and students deserve the same access to educational options as those in the rest of the State. The Governor’s Executive Budget makes an unprecedented $34.5 billion investment in public education, including fully funding the Foundation Aid formula for the first time in history. As a result of this historic investment, New York City will receive over $13 billion in school funding,” a representative for the governor’s office said in a statement.