Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced Friday a plan to shift $210 million away from charter schools to pay for the mayor’s expansion of pre-K programs.
Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina would take money set aside by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg to increase classroom space at charter schools, The New York Times reported. She plans to use that money and another $310 million in state funding to create space for about 2,100 students in new pre-K programs.
The switch reveals a major policy shift between De Blasio and his predecessor. While Bloomberg set up fast track approval for more charters in his last days in office, de Blasio wants to focus on improving schools, rather than replacing them with charters.
Charter school advocates quickly denounced the decision.
“Once again, thousands of minority and low-income students and families have their educational future unfairly put in jeopardy,” said Jeremiah Kittredge, executive director of Families for Excellent Schools.
Backers of the publicly-funded but privately-run charter schools worry that the coming weeks could bring more setbacks to their cause. More than a dozen new charter schools are scheduled to open this fall inside traditional school buildings. But Farina, a tough-minded educator, has pledged to review each case.