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    Senate Republicans & IDC Stall State Budget Negotiations Over Charter School Tuition Funding

    For Many Districts, Proposed Spending on Charters Would Consume Education Aid Increases

    As state budget negotiations continue in the effort to adopt a spending plan before the April 1 deadline, the demand by Senate Republicans and the Senate Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) for increases in charter school tuition funding has emerged as a key sticking point. 

    The Senate majority coalition is working to force 20 local school districts to provide an additional $239 million in tuition payments to privately run charter schools.  For these 20 school districts around the state, the proposed charter school tuition hike would eat up the vast majority of the $297 million in proposed new Foundation Aid. 

    A chart detailing the estimated cost based on current year enrollment in charter schools for some school districts around the state is attached. 

    “Once again, Senate Republicans and the IDC are advocating for a school funding scheme that would shortchange economically disadvantaged and Black and Brown students in New York State,” said Alliance for Quality Education Legislative Director Jasmine Gripper. “In many districts, the huge increases in payments to charters overwhelm the Foundation Aid proposed resulting in a net loss. In others, the proposed charter tuition hike would eat up almost all of the benefits of Foundation Aid.”

    Gripper also noted that the negative impacts of additional charter tuition would be huge even if the Foundation Aid increase is significantly over the Governor’s proposal. 

    The Senate Republican and IDC proposal includes increasing the regular tuition school districts pay to charter schools, which was also proposed by the Governor, as well as an additional tuition charge for support staff. 

    The Assembly Majority have been long time advocates of fully funding the Foundation Aid formula and Speaker Carl Heastie has named it as a top priority in this year’s budget.  The Senate Majority have few to no charter schools in their district yet year after year they spend more energy fighting for charters than Foundation Aid. In order to close the opportunity gap and finally get back on track with providing every student with access to, “sound basic education,” state leaders need to commit to strong increases in Foundation Aid while curtailing spending on charter schools.

    Examples of what public schools districts could do with this funding if they are not forced to give it to charters

    • Convert more schools into community schools
    • Hire more teachers to decrease class sizes and allow for increased number of electives
    • Hire more guidance counselors, school psychologists, behavioral specialists and social    workers
    • Hire more literacy teachers
    • Create Newcomers schools for newly arrived immigrant students and refugees
    • Expand the school day and year 

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