ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Education advocates are praising a $140 billion budget deal reached between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders that includes new protections for charter schools and universal pre-kindergarten.
The state budget for the fiscal year that starts Tuesday contains an estimated 5 percent increase in state funding for public schools, including $340 million for universal pre-kindergarten statewide.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, de Blasio had hoped for $340 million to be allocated to New York City alone, but he’ll have to settle for the lion’s share of $300 million.
It also includes increased aid for charter schools and assurances they will have space to operate and making them eligible for pre-K funding.
“We want to protect and grow and support the charter school movement and this budget does that,” Cuomo said. “We made sure that charter schools do have alternatives which will provide reasonable space accommodations and funding to provide that space.”
Charter school advocates Saturday called the budget deal “a historic moment.”
“Gov. Cuomo and Sen. Skelos have championed parents and children by boldly moving to protect the future of charter schools,” Success Academy Founder and CEO Eva Moskowitz said in a statement.
“Gov. Cuomo and Albany leaders responded to a groundswell of parent voices, and made a historic down payment on ensuring all public school families are treated equally,” Jeremiah Kittredge, executive director of Families for Excellent Schools, said in a statement.
“It is the time for all of us to put aside politics, ads, rallies, divisive rhetoric and campaigning, and instead continue our shared task of delivering the best possible education to all of our children,” said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, in a statement.
Last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio decided to reverse a decision to allow three Success Academy charter schools in Harlem to use space in public school buildings even though it was promised to them by former mayor Michael Bloomberg.
De Blasio defended the move, even though it resulted in protests and several active lawsuits.
“Of the 45 co-locations carried over from the Bloomberg administration, we agreed to 36,” the mayor said earlier this month. “We disagreed with nine and I think any judge that looks at that is going to see that we’re balanced and objective.”