Yesterday, along with the NYC Parents Union and many individual parent plaintiffs, we filed a lawsuit against DOE regarding their policy of co-locating charter schools in DOE buildings. Our decision to sue the city was not taken likely, and was based upon two principal concerns:
1. According to NY state law, districts are supposed to charge for the space and services they provide to charter schools “at cost.” Instead, the NYC DOE does this for free. Our estimate, based upon IBO data, is that the cost of the space and services that DOE is providing charter schools is worth about $100 million – critical revenue that should be going to our public schools to prevent damaging budget cuts and devastating class size increases expected next year. As it is, the IBO also found that students at co-located charters receive nearly $1000 extra per student than those in our district public schools – a fundamental inequity that should not be allowed to continue.
2. We are also opposed to any further co-locations because the DOE uses every available inch of space – and sometimes where there is none — to cram in a new school, which either increases class size in the existing schools, or will prevent them from reducing class size in the future, which the state’s highest court said would be necessary if our kids are ever to receive their constitutional right to an adequate education.
The latter is interesting only because it has footage from Dennis Walcott’s press op scheduled at the last minute at a co-located KIPP charter in Harlem, which he held at the very same time as our 1 PM press conference, in an apparent attempt to try to divert the media’s attention from our lawsuit. Obviously, he was not fully successful at achieving that goal.