Report from New York group condemns political donations giving charters advantage

Taking money
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The New York Alliance for Quality Education released a report Thursday condemning New York Senate Democrats for increasing charter school budgets in exchange for campaign donations.

Charter school political donors contributed $409,910 dollars to senate Democrats in 2019, largely through the NYS Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, according to a Thursday press release. The committee works to elect a Democratic majority in the state legislature.

The authors of the Alliance report called on senate Democrats to return the donations and for legislators to immediately pass laws that would prevent political donations that affect the budgets given to charter schools.

These donations affected Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s choice to increase New York City charter school budgets in his proposed 2020-21 budget, according to the report. Cuomo’s budget would increase the charter school budget by 5.3% and the public school budget by 1.9%.

The proposed budget would direct 67% of the additional budget money to charter schools, which serve 11% of New York City students, according to the report.

The report also attacked claims by charter schools that they produce higher-performing students, insisting that charter schools have higher rates of discipline and suspension, especially among students who are disabled or speak English as a second language. The report did not provide specific numbers or a source for these statistical comparisons.