Thursday, December 18, 2014

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Mayor Under Fire from People On Both Sides of Co-Location Debate

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The mayor is facing fire from every angle over his decisions on school co-locations. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

He's being sued by those who say he went way too far and those who say he didn't go nearly far enough.

Decisions to let schools share space are extremely controversial, especially when one of those schools is a charter school. It's a policy that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg supported and that Mayor Bill de Blasio has, historically, mostly opposed.

However, recently, in a review of 45 co-location decisions approved by the previous administration, de Blasio said that most could go forward. Six schools, including three Success Academy charter schools, would no longer get the space they'd been promised.

The reaction? Protests, lawsuits and anger from both sides.

In an appearance on MSNBC Monday, the mayor said that his message just hadn't come across right.

"You say, 'Hey, you guys could have done better public relations.' God bless you, you're right," he said. "But that's not the point here. The point is, we're going to work with everyone."

However, in the polarized debates over education, space and charter schools, it's not clear whether that's possible.

The charter advocates say this fight is now about larger issues, like whether the city can continue to be a supportive place for charters even with a less supportive mayor in City Hall.

Don't let the hand-painted signs fool you. There are powerful supporters on both sides.

Thanks to wealthy donors, charters have blasted millions of dollars worth of advertisements, and charters bused 11,000 supporters to Albany, where Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged his support.

On the other side, there's the powerful teachers' union, the NAACP, the public advocate and the City Council speaker.

"We have seen children suffer because of co-location," said the Rev. Michael Walrond of the First Corinthian Baptist Church.

That's where the mayor used to stand before he got caught somewhere in the middle. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP