Sunday, December 21, 2014

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The Call Blog: State Budget Deadline Nears, Agreement Funds Pre-Kindergarten And Charter Schools

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138 billion dollars. And so many aspects of life remain a struggle. I wonder how many lawmakers will even read the budget? Talking points. Promises. Soundbites. Retirement. And so it goes.

State lawmakers are passing budget bills in Albany today after reaching agreements on most issues over the weekend. The $138 billion spending plan comes during an election year and provides tax relief to homeowners and manufacturers. Barring a setback, lawmakers are expected to pass most or all of the budget before the midnight deadline.

Much of the focus in New York City is on education. The budget includes $1.1 billion additional education aid for the 2014-15 school year, a 5.3 percent spending increase. It commits to spending $1.5 billion over five years to support the phase-in of pre-Kindergarten statewide, with $300 million going to New York City this year.

In addition, the budget increases tuition funding for charter school students and will promote the growth of charter schools by addressing facility needs. Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have publically disagreed over pre-K and charter schools during the first three months of the year. What do you say?

Are you pleased or disappointed to learn Albany lawmakers will fund full-day pre-Kindergarten without raising taxes on the wealthy? What's your reaction to the increase in funding for charter schools? How would you spend $138 billion tax dollars to improve New York State?

Send your thoughts using the link above.

Charters can refuse students who are not as smart as others. Of course this cherry picking looks good on the stats. Unions only makes sure teachers are not taken advantage of.


Because the parents are invested, the teachers are held accountable and the kids are pushed to work the hard. We put in longer hours and the results show.


Salute to governor Cuomo for taking the right stand for the betterment of our kids education & showing the courage of rising above the petty vote bank politics of teachers union.

Tony - Washington heights

Let the traditional public schools give their students the boot when they don't perform and watch the success rate improve. Graduation rate would improve.

Charter schools are a special place because they have so much more money than public schools and their selection process is such where they can pick and choose their students. Public schools cannot do that. Level the playing fields and see what happens. Let the traditional public schools give their students the boot when they don't perform and watch the success rate improve. Please try it.


My daughter has been in a charter school since kindergarten and I think they should get the room. Instead of attacking the charter school system people should voice their opinions to the Board of Ed and try to change the Board of Ed outdated policy. a lot of these charter schools challenge our children's education which matters most. stop making the charter schools an issues start forcing the Board of Ed to make better decisions for kids. and no Charter schools do not teach children that are not on grade level it's all a lottery in is all about placing your name and you know places to get picked I have my daughter and I least 15 lotteries before and only got picked by one.


The charters' numbers are not overall better than public schools'. They are not subject to the same rules and regs. Why is Cuomo meddling? Someone needs to create a facebook page for people who will no longer vote for Cuomo. The unions/teachers are NOT to blame for current issues; try income inequality.

Shelley from Park Slope

Charts arent working- stats are not better!!!! Look at the suspension and SpED rates.


The problem that no one seems to get, is that the bad teachers that have been in the union for 5 years can't be fired. So the DOE puts these teachers in the minority neighborhoods because minorities tend not to complain. This is at the heart of the educational crisis. The charter schools address this by not requiring the teacher to be in the union. The only ones against this is friends of the teachers union.


No teachers union so the teachers that is not effective is out. That goes for students they don't follow the rules they are out. The parents they don't come into the schools and fight everyone in a charter school they are all out. That is a private setting not fair. This is so unfair to students in public school.




How dare we neglect public education students by giving away our schools! This is outrageous. They just gave away our schools to corporations!


Charter Schools are NOT Public Schools.

Because they are loosely regulated, charter schools are often neither accountable nor transparent. For instance, In 2013, the founders of an L.A. charter with 1,200 students were convicted of misappropriating more than $200,000 in public funds. In Oakland, an audit at the highest-performing charter schools in the state found that $3.8 million may have been misused when the founder hired his other businesses to do work for his charters.

Charter schools are "public" when it is time to claim public funding, but they have claimed in federal court and before the National Labor Relations Board to be private corporations when their employees seek the protection of state labor laws.

Gretchen UWS

It's a sad day for education period in NYC. I am not a public school apologist, because the unions and other structural problems have failed to educate black and poor children. However, Success Academy is not the answer. NONE of SA's 8th grade kids got into a specialized high school. Only 1/2 got into their first 10 choices of regular high schools. More than half did not get into any of their schools, and must wait for the second round. If SA were doing such a great job educating these kids, the results should have been phenomenal. It's sad that so many parents, grabbing for anything that smacks of education, have entrusted their children to Eva Moskowitz. Those kids are not being educated, they are being conditioned with data, behavioral modification, and test prep to do well on an awful test called common core. The children are test prepped from November through April-that is not education. I will do my best to encourage others NOT to vote for Cuomo. The money that Cuomo has given Success Academy would have been better spent on quality after-school programs for the children in the same communities. Cuomo has sold NYC public school for campaign funds. Shouldn't that be illegal?

Judy from Harlem

Very simple. Gov Cuomo is for charters and refuses to tax the rich. He has sold out to big business. I am a Democrat and I will never vote for Cuomo again. I hope that the Working Families Party runs someone so I can vote for Governor in the next election.


Cuomo is sleazy and despicable. I will never vote for him, no matter who runs against him. He is corrupt to the core.

East Village

Success academy suspension rates are 15% higher than public school average. If i could suspend for bad test grades my pass rates would e amazing too!!


I am absolutely displeased with Cuomo's decision to allow charter schools to "steal" space from traditional public school students. There is nothing "public" about charter when it is done by a selection process and the school has the power to get rid of students who do not master the content. Cuomo will not be getting my vote this election season.

Candace from Harlem

I am a principal in the Bronx at a REAL public school (charter schools are "publically funded" but don't follow public rules the rest of us do) and we had four students transfer to our school mid-year from Democracy Prep Charter School. It was anything but a democratic process. The students had to repeat 6th grade and all have special needs. They were not given the opportunity to go to summer school and try to be promoted. They didn't receive the services on their IEPs (Individual Education Plans). There parents were strongly encouraged to take their students out and transfer them to our school. I couldn't just send students to a charter school.

Cruz- Washington Heights

I am a charter school teacher who has never bought in to this pro-charter rhetoric. I have seen the ugliness of the charter school business, and the public should keep in mind that these types of schools run like businesses. Children are children, not data, not numbers. They deserved to be treated fairly, they deserve equal access to education. They should never be told "No" because they have an IEP or other disabilities, or because they simply did not make the lottery. I have also seen the unfortunate grade inflation game happen to protect the school image, "favorite teachers," and administrators. Charter schools are not out performing, but they are outsmarting.

"Teacher" - Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn

With about 70,000 students, charters teach less than 1% of all NYC students. Combine that with the lottery system, low-performing students being kicked out before they affect the school's ranking, and the utter and complete lack of special-needs students, it's not a choice at all. It's false hope, one that's being exploited by Cuomo for his own financial advantage. If they want to exist, they should call themselves and act like what they are: private, for-profit schools. Until they do, they remain a huge, horrible, and terrific scam being perpetrated on the most desperate.

Shame on you, Cuomo. Shame.


How to Spend $138 Billion in NYS? Fully fund the "Response to Intervention" programs that would make sure EVERY child in the state is reading on grade level! THAT would close the "achievement gap" in less than a decade.

Susan, Morningside Hts.

The Governor protected his rich contributors by killing the mayor's tax increase, and then added insult to injury by cutting out the mayor's legs on charters. I hope the Working Family Party runs a candidate against Cuomo this year.



What I say is that government should be expelled from schools. Parents should pay for the education of their children. Parents should be free to choose what schools their off spring will attend.

Port Richmond, SI

Hi John;

This budget process is a joke. A few politicans in a back room. Of course, they get the budget done on time to print it and have it sit on lawmakers desk for 3 days. I will bet my pension that not one of them even looked at it.

midtown east

Hi John

I'm glad the lawmakers in Albany are giving the city the money to start UPK and other educational programs, i believe the rich should still be taxed because we all have to step in and help the kids even if you don't have kids help a friend's kid out with homework or study for a test, some parents are single and a single parent can't do it alone. The Mayor and Govenor shouldn't disagree when it comes to education they should work together because the kids are our future charter schools are just as important as public schools because the kids are learning that's what counts. The rest of the money should be used for the union contracts affordable housing and refurbish the infrastructure lessons need to be learned from Hurricane Sandy people are still trying to rebuild.


By not taxing the rich and giving additional tax breaks to corporations, the governor and legislators have again shifted the burden of paying for Pre-K and other budget items onto the middle class tax payer, which basically perpetuates the issue of income inequality.

Bay Ridge

Hi John,

I’m all for them to not raise taxes because this seems to be the answer to all of DeBlasio’s solutions. Why is it that so much money is going for the Charter Schools when a judge just ruled that the books of charter schools don’t have to be audited. How can that be? They are making a lot of money and so now we have yet another project being funded and we have no idea how this money is being shuffled around. Sounds like the lotto situation. They take in umpteen amounts of money and we have no idea where it goes. As far as this Pre-K goes I still feel that it is a glorified day care center. Many people feel that way. It will also have the need for about a 1,000 school teachers to be hired. Where does the regular public school education fit in. All the brain trusts of this city and state still can’t come up with a solution about fixing the public school system. It is still in limbo. They all bit off more than they can chew. This also happens to be an election year in Albany. How many of these politicians will be around after this election. I still think we are past the point of no return.

Thank you John,

It seem from the beginning the only on who cared about our DOE schools was Deblasio . I was right . Why do our kids get left with nothing and the charter schools still take over it's not fair.

Danielle, Harlem

Where is all of the lottery money going? It is not going to education. Before they start taxing the rich and running them out of town, the politicians should hit to road and stop their deviant behavior and corrupt ways.. I would do a lot of road repair with that money.

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