Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Charter Cap

The NY Post reports charter entrepreneurs and advocates want the extension of NYC mayoral control (something Mayor de Blasio wants) tied to the elimination of the charter school cap (something de Blasio doesn't want.)

The Post also reports that charter advocates have an up-hill battle this year to get the cap raised:

The Democratic-controlled Assembly has already drafted a bill to give the mayor three more years of oversight over the city’s school system.

But there’s no sentiment there to add 100 more charter schools, as Gov. Cuomo has proposed and the mayor has opposed.

One insider declared bluntly that there was “no chance” of that happening.

“There is still plenty of room under the cap,” said Michael Whyland, a spokesman for ­Assembly Democrats.

Normally I'd say charter entrepreneurs get what they want whenever they want, so the cap hike is a done deal.

But this is a strange year.

First off, both the Assembly speaker and the Senate majority leader have been hauled out on criminal charges and replaced with newbies who have less control of their conferences.

Second, Governor Cuomo, a huge advocate of charter schools in the past, is weakened, enjoying the lowest job approval numbers of his governorship (just 37% approval), and is taking some time away from his duties next week to help his consort Sandra Lee through cancer surgery.

Cuomo has put some of his diminished political capital to a backdoor tax voucher plan for private schools and charter schools, leaving less political capital to fight for a cap hike.

Third, much of the legislative session was hijacked by US Attorney Preet Bharara, with Bharara arresting former Assembly Speaker Silver right after Cuomo's state of the state/budget speech, then arresting former Senate Majority Leader Skelos about a month after the budget deadline.

There is very little time left before the end of the session and much of the air in the legislative session has been taken out by the arrests, wiretaps, leaks and other corruption-related matters.

This is not to say that there won't be a late inning deal to raise the charter cap or at least shift how the cap works so that some of the upstate slots can be moved down to NYC and make Eva Moskowitz very, very happy.

But whereas in past years I'd say the likelihood of that was 100%, this time around, given all the damage from the corruption cases and given the rumors that swirl that Governor Cuomo is next on the fed list for arrest, the legislature getting anything done on the cap is far from certain.

Rumor has it that many items that were left outstanding during the budget negotiations (like rent control, 421-a tax abatements, mayoral control) will simply get a one-year extender and be addressed more fully next year.

If that's the case, then it's hard to see how the cap gets addressed in any substantive way this year, especially since there's still 25 slots left in NYC and hundreds more left in the rest of the state.

We'll see - the charter entrepreneurs want what they want and they have plenty of money to throw around to get it.

And we should never expect the heavy hearts in the Assembly to stand fast when there's always an opportunity to cave on an issue and blame it on somebody else.

1 comment:

  1. Shifting the slots sound likely. This was the compromise struck by StudentsFirst in other states last week. Correction, that is what they're $$$ bought them.