ALBANY, N.Y. (September 9, 2020) — A white paper released on Wednesday by the public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education shows that even as public schools face a 20 percent cut in state aid, school districts will still be mandated to pay 100 percent of tuition for publicly funded, privately run charter schools.
The white paper shows that the impact of the charter school tuition will be felt the greatest in those school districts with the highest charter school saturation. Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and New York schools, which combined enroll a total of 1,125,528 students in public schools, could lose $2.7 billion as a result of the 20 percent cuts the Governor is pushing; those districts’ charter tuition payments for the 2019-20 school year came to $2.5 billion. Read the full white paper here.
Charter schools enroll only 6 percent of students statewide. As privately run public schools, charter schools in New York are eligible for state and federal dollars, including emergency coronavirus education grants; but their status as non-profits or corporations has also awarded them access to the PPP small business loan program. In New York State, 144 charter schools and their management organizations have received between $126 million and $294 million in PPP loans.
New York cannot continue to grant billions in public dollars to privately run charter schools, while forcing public schools to make devastating cuts. With public schools at risk of losing 20 percent of state funding, they should not be mandated to make their charter school payments in full. A change in this statute would require legislative action, and agreement by the Governor.
“Governor Cuomo and the State legislature must act now to change the statute obligating districts receiving a 20 percent cut in funding to pay 100 percent of the tuition to privately run charter schools,” the white paper urges. “It’s time for the New York Democratic Governor to stop promoting the Trump/DeVos education agenda.”