Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pushed back Wednesday against efforts to boost funding for charter schools.
While not ruling out more money for charters, Silver said any effort to aid them must be weighed against other pressing needs in the city, including a space crunch that has kept school children in temporary classroom trailers for years.
“When you want to talk about school construction, there are children who are sitting in trailers for years because we don’t have the physical facilities to put them into buildings,” Silver (D-Manhattan) said at a press conference Wednesday morning.
“And if we want to talk about construction crisis, we should talk about those children first. They’ve been there," Silver continued. "They are not part of new proposals. They are not part of experiments. They are assigned to those trailers and many of them have been there for years. So that’s something, if we want to spend money on construction.”
Despite the outcry over Mayor de Blasio’s recent move to cancel colocation agreements for three charter schools, Silver re-iterated that he does not see a “crisis” looming for charter schools and stressed that there is “severe overcrowding throughout the school system," including a lack of kindergarten seats in some neighborhoods.
“That requires construction,” Silver said. “That requires new buildings as well. So if we’re going to talk about a construction program, let’s talk about all of the problems and not just three schools that were denied colocations for reasons that were, I believe, justifiable.”
Silver's comments come a day after a massive, pro-charter school rally that drew thousands of people to the Capitol steps. Gov. Cuomo addressed the rally and vowed to "save" charter schools, but did no elaborate on how he intended to do so.
Silly Sheldon Silver - everybody knows the only students who matter are those in charter schools.
If the students in the trailers at traditional public schools attended charter schools, then they could get Governor Cuomo, the charter school student lobbyist, to stand up for them.
Alas, they do not and Cuomo does not care about them one whit.