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Blue Civil War
De Blasio Attacked from Both Sides on Charter Schools

Bill de Blasio’s war against charter schools in New York City is getting him into some trouble. In Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo appeared alongside one of his enemies at a pro-charter school rally, and he faces plenty of opposition in his own backyard. A group of parents of New York City charter school students is suing over de Blasio’s decision to renege on Michael Bloomberg’s promise to allow three Success Academy charter schools to move into underused public school space. Many parents are accusing him of carrying out a personal vendetta against Success Academy, which is run by one of his biggest rivals. Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s comment that the charter schools “are on their own now” (which she later walked back) did nothing to assuage them.

Meanwhile, charter opponents aren’t happy with the new Mayor, either. The New York City Parents Union is proceeding with a lawsuit of its own that would attempting to force all charter schools to pay rent, regardless of finances. According to this group, de Blasio’s plan to charge rent to charters based on a “sliding scale” that takes their ability to pay into account still offers far too much to these schools. They argue that allowing any school to operate rent-free contravenes a state law that permits cities to charge for the use of their property.

You wouldn’t think it from all the outrage flying around, but de Blasio actually hasn’t changed much yet. The Success Academy schools were among a very small group that had their co-locations denied, and the details of his “sliding scale” plan haven’t yet been ironed out. If he really does make good on all of his promises to cut back on charters, this fight is only getting started. But with his poll numbers already dipping and a lack of support from Governor Cuomo, a fight against high-performing charter schools and the lawsuits from both sides may be more than enough to convince him to back down.

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  • S.C. Schwarz

    He will not back down. The municipal unions elected him and this is critical to them. And DeBlasio is an ideologue and really believes this stuff.

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