ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York’s public school districts must fully fund charter schools in the upcoming school year, according to a nonprofit public education advocacy organization.
The Alliance for Quality Education, based in Albany, says that even as public schools face 20% cuts in state aid, they must pay 100% of tuition for charters. Charter schools enroll 6% of students statewide.
Charter schools receive public funds while independent, private groups are “chartered” to control the curriculum, enrollment, tuition, and every other aspect of operations. As private entities, they are not always subject to the same oversight from municipalities or the state as are traditional public schools. They’re considered publicly funded but privately run.
Charter schools receive state and federal dollars—including emergency coronavirus education grants—but their nonprofit or corporate status also grants access to the Paycheck Protection Program. In New York, 144 charter schools have received at least $126 million in PPP loans.
The Alliance says the impacts of charter school payments will be felt the most by districts with the most charter schools.
Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City schools—with over a million public school students between them—could lose nearly $3 billion because of those 20% cuts. Those four largest districts paid $2.5 billion in charter tuition payments for the 2019 to 2020 school year.
“Gov. Cuomo and the state legislature must act now to change the statute obligating districts receiving a 20% cut in funding to pay 100% of the tuition to privately run charter schools,” the Alliance urges.
Check out the Wednesday release from the Alliance for Quality Education: