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State lawmakers kill Gov. Hochul’s plan to expand charter schools in New York City


The state Senate rejected Gov. Kathy Hochul’s attempt to increase the number of charter schools in New York City.

The chamber’s single-chamber budget, released Tuesday, omitted the governor’s plans revealed in her executive budget last month to remove regional caps on the number of schools that can open and reissue defunct charters. That would have made over a hundred new ones available throughout the city.

The Assembly was also expected to reject the constitution proposals, according to multiple reports during the last week. That chamber’s budget plan was expected to be released later today.

The resolutions are not binding and kick off the next few weeks of intense budget negotiations between the governor and both chambers.

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Hochul’s plan would open up more than 80 charter flights available under the state cap to city operators, previously excluded by regional caps. The proposal would also bring back into play more than 20 “zombie” charter schools that have closed since 2015, either because the schools have not renewed their programs or have revoked them.

Approximately 275 charter schools currently operate in the city, as the sector reached its limit in the south of the state in 2019.

Several key state legislators had publicly denounced the governor’s proposal in the weeks before he released his spending priorities.

Critics of publicly funded and private schools say charter schools divert money and enrollment from the traditional public school system, while supporters say they provide options for families dissatisfied with their neighborhood school.

A pro-charter school rally in front of Manhattan City Hall on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

“I think it makes sense to give parents options,” Hochul said in a unrelated press conference on Monday. “I’m just responding to parents who want to choose, especially in the Black and Latino communities who say, ‘Can we just choose?’ And it’s hard to say no to people who want to be able to make a decision.”

“I’m just trying to inject a common sense approach into this,” he added. “We’ll see how it all plays out in the budget, but that’s all going to start in earnest very soon.”

The final budget is due by April 1.

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