Author: Robert Creenan
This past week, around 1,200 charter school teachers, students, and parents rallied in Albany for the 12th annual Charter Advocacy Day. The goal was to urge support for fixes in the charter school system as proposed by Governor Cuomo, along with facilities funding for all charter schools in the state, which 100 don’t have right now (including all the ones outside of New York City).
Of the people attending, 52 were from Buffalo, representing Buffalo area schools such as the Buffalo Academy of Science, South Buffalo, and the King Center. The Bell family, who were plaintiffs in the Brown v. New York charter funding lawsuit, were there as well.
The attendees took part in 90 legislative meetings with their lawmakers, which allowed them to speak directly with their leaders. State legislature members also addressed the crowd outside of meetings as well.
“Right now in Buffalo, charter kids are only funded at 60 cents on the dollar compared to district kids,” said Jessica Mokhiber, one of the Buffalo organizers who was in attendance. “Charters are the only public schools in the state denied state funding for their buildings.”
The funding for charter schools in Buffalo is significantly lower than the state average, which is 75 cents to the dollar. The funding in nearby Rochester is 68 cents to the dollar.
Buffalo area charter school advocates will be holding a press conference later this month to address charter school inequities in a more formal setting.