Selected readings on US charter schools
Recently enacted changes in state law created an environment for opening charter schools in New York City that’s friendlier than almost any other city in the nation.
“From an infrastructure perspective, things have never been better,” said James Merriman, the influential CEO of the New York City Charter School Center.
“We have the governor and state Legislature to thank for that.”
Would-be charter school operators have already contacted the center asking for information on the benefits of the law spearheaded by Gov. Cuomo. It requires that the city provide new or expanding charters with space in traditional public school buildings or rent for privately-owned space.
The law also increases per-pupil funding for charters from $13,527 to an estimated $14,027 by the 2017-2018 school year.
“It changes the whole game,” said Ric Campbell, 61, co-founder of the South Bronx Early College Academy. “It’s a huge advantage.”
Campbell’s middle school received its charter in December and won’t open until September 2015 with 110 kids and $300,000 dedicated to facility-related expenses.
If Campbell qualifies for the new benefits he could spend the money on hiring four more teachers, laptops for each student, field trips to college campuses or more arts and music programming, he said.
He’s not the only one excited by the benefits of the new law.
“Everyone who reaches out to our organization is considering whether they are eligible,” said Kyle Rosenkrans, vice president of policy and advocacy at the Northeast Charter Schools Network, which works directly with 183 schools.
Critics have blasted the law.