NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Public school parents, teachers and other community leaders rallied Tuesday against co-location of charter schools in traditional public school buildings.

As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, demonstrators chanted “Education is a right – fight, fight fight,” at Tuesday’s rally on the steps of the Department of Education headquarters in lower Manhattan.

Co-location opponents said charter schools are crowding out existing schools and hurting students who are already there.

“In addition to classrooms, we lost a music room, a science room, an art room, a technology room,” P.S. 811 teacher Mindy Rosier said. “How can services be provided in the hallways of an already crowded school? You can’t.”

“No matter what anyone tells you in their expensive television ads, this is not fair,” Rosier added.

P.S. 811 is a school for the autistic and learning disabled and currently shares space with a Success Academy charter school.

“It is not fair that they are pushing the special needs kids out and are taking all of the programs away,” a mother said.

Advocates plan to march on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Thursday to urge him to change his co-location policy.

The budget deal reached by state lawmakers late last month includes increased aid for charter schools and assurances they will have space to operate. They will also be eligible for pre-K funding.

“We want to protect and grow and support the charter school movement and this budget does that,” Cuomo said at the time. “We made sure that charter schools do have alternatives which will provide reasonable space accommodations and funding to provide that space.”

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