NY Poised for Debate Over More Charter Schools

ALBANY (AP) -

Charter school supporters and critics in New York state are preparing for what they say will be a big debate over whether to allow more of the privately run, but publicly funded schools.

The state restricts the number of charters both statewide and within New York City. There’s plenty of room to grow statewide: 285 charters have been approved, far below the cap of 460. But it’s a different situation in the city, which has 231 either open or expected to open soon. That would leave only 25 slots for additional schools under the current cap.

Advocates of charters say the caps are arbitrary and discourage groups from even beginning the yearslong process of winning approval.

“Charters are not a virus that needs to be contained,” James Merriman, CEO of the NYC Charter School Center. “They’re something to be encouraged.”

But critics are vowing to defend against these efforts.

“These are truly the masters of inequality and they have an agenda, ideologically driven, to bust up our public schools,” said Billy Easton of the Alliance for Quality Education.