"The Assembly/Senate bill would double the number of charter schools across New YorkState, while insisting that they do more to educate English language learners and children with learning disabilities.
"Our legislation would put an end to divisive fights over school space by giving traditional public school parents a voice in the process when they are asked to give up classrooms to accommodate a new or expanding charter school in their school building.
"Contrary to Mayor Bloomberg's statements, this bill would place no limit on continued charter school growth in New York City. The only limits it places are on his and Chancellor Klein's unchecked ability to completely disregard the voices of traditional public school parents in siting decisions.
"It is unfortunate that Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein are willing to oppose this legislation and continue to withhold their support for New York's Race to the Top application - thereby dooming it - solely to maintain their unchecked power to displace traditional public schools from existing classroom space."
Facts regarding the Assembly/Senate Race to the Top legislation:
A New Chartering Process
The charter application and review process for 200 additional charters would now be driven by a request for proposals process to be developed jointly by the Board of Regents and the SUNY Board of Trustees. This would allow for a shared standard for review and provide for the growth of charter schools to be targeted, planned, and geared toward the high performance standards prescribed by Race to the Top.
Those responding to the request for proposals could submit their applications to either SUNY or the Board of Regents for review and evaluation. The Board of Regents and the Board of Trustees must use a jointly developed scoring mechanism during such evaluation. Those applications that SUNY would recommend for granting a charter would be submitted to the Board of Regents and of those, they may submit up to 65 highly recommended applications for which charters must be granted.
Meet enrollment and retention targets for high needs students, such as English language learners and students with disabilities
Undergo a rigorous public review and comment process developed by the Regents
Rigorously demonstrate that location or co-location in a public school is acceptable to the parents of the students in the existing school building
The prohibition of for-profit organizations from establishing, operating, or managing a school
The charters would be for five instructional years
The charters must meet the same health, sanitary and safety requirements and have the same exemptions from local zoning, land use regulation and building code compliance as traditional public schools
New provisions on transparency and accountability would apply to all charters and would include:
Authorizing the comptroller to audit charter schools
Charter schools would be subject to the same code of ethics requirements, including procedures for the disclosure of conflicts of interest, that are required of all other public schools
Making the annual report more widely and publicly disseminated. The annual report includes information such as:
certified financial statements and audits
information regarding progress toward goals
performance data, and the charter school's plan for enrolling high-need students
Requiring trustees to hold monthly meetings at the charter school
New reporting requirements, such as a demonstration of the charter school's efforts to enroll high-need students
Ensuring that enrollment lotteries are conducted in a transparent and equitable manner and are open to the public
Race to the Top is also specifically focused on methods for turning around the lowest achieving schools. In order to make New York more competitive in this respect, the proposal will authorize school boards to contract with an SED-approved list of not-for-profit education management organizations for the purpose of managing individual schools within the district in order to turn around the persistently lowest achieving schools.
In the Race to the Top application, a state can earn up to 35 points by supporting school districts in turning around the persistently lowest achieving schools by implementing one of the four school intervention models. Authorizing school districts to contract with educational management organizations is integral to some of these turnaround models.