NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – He’s under fire again.
Charter schools fired another salvo at Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday as he tried to make hay off a high-profile endorsement of his universal pre-kindergarten plan, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
They say that one picture is worth a thousand words, but the question Thursday was which picture? One shows Mayor de Blasio with Cardinal Timothy Dolan, a new ally in the pre-K fight. The other features a full-page ad with pictures of the 194 Harlem Success Academy charter school children who are about to be thrown out on the street by de Blasio because he is taking back the space they occupy, Kramer reported.
The ad, called “Save the 194,” puts a face to each of the students impacted by the decision — mostly black and Hispanic students. The school’s founder told Kramer she will fight the move.
“We’re reviewing all our options. Maybe there’s a legal strategy here. Maybe its civil disobedience,” Eva Moskowitz said.
Kramer asked the mayor Thursday about the ad, the threats of civil disobedience and an ugly fight.
“It’s a free country. It’s a free country. People can choose to do whatever they choose in a Democratic society,” de Blasio said.
The mayor has met with some of the smaller, less well-funded charter schools and he took pains to say he is not anti-charter. He’s just not a fan of the charter process of his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg.
“It was a rushed process. It would have been better to leave the new administration the opportunity to make those decisions,” de Blasio said. “But I’ve always said that charter schools are part of the lineup and we want to work with them.”
It was a big get for de Blasio to add Dolan to his list of pre-K supporters, but the cardinal refused to endorse the mayor’s insistence of taxing the rich to pay for it, especially since Gov. Andrew Cuomo is offering state money and no tax.
“Listen, all I’m grateful for is that we’ve got leaders, Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo, who are passionate about this. How it’s going to be done; how it’s going to be funded, I’ll leave it up to them,” Dolan said.
There’s no indication the charter fight will end any time soon. Given the resolve of both sides there’s bound to be more fireworks, especially as Gov. Cuomo negotiates a new state budget that will seek more funding and more space for charter schools.
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