A couple of weeks ago I asked whether the nation's capital could learn from a charter school facility task force that was formed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Well it turns out that the State's legislature came up with a solution for finding these alternative school permanent homes that should be adopted here.
After the NYC Mayor rejected co-location in traditional public schools for three new Success Academy charters, while allowing five others to proceed, there was an outpouring of public opinion against the move. Charter proponents descended on Albany to voice their support for charters. The result was groundbreaking legislation that Governor Cuomo has backed and is committed to signing.
Going forward any new NYC charter school, or one that is expanding, will be guaranteed space in an existing traditional school or the city will have to pay rent to provide it a facility in a commercial building.
The one oversight of the bill is that charters that currently pay rent are not covered under the new law. I put excellent odds on this oversight being corrected in the near future.
But why should this remedy be seen as unique? Charters are public schools like the regular ones, and here in Washington, D.C. they deserve the same treatment most charters in New York are now going to receive. It makes little sense to give charters a facility allotment per student each year only to have this money go to developers, or in the case of locating in shuttered DCPS buildings, back to the city in rent. As we elect a Mayor come this November let's see which candidate really supports charters by committing to finding them with space in the same manner as does the city to the north.