Mayor Bloomberg is backing — and also wants to bankroll — the creation of four charter high schools, The Post has learned.
The state Education Department has received applications to open the schools as part of the mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative, which is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.
n an unusual arrangement, members of the Mayor’s Office and top deputies in the city Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Readiness have been quietly working behind the scenes to design the schools — although charters are operated and managed independently from the city department.
If approved by the state Board of Regents, the four ReSolve high schools would open in September 2014, after Bloomberg’s third term has ended.
The schools, despite being funded by the Young Men’s Initiative, will serve both boys and girls, according to letters of intent filed with the state last month
They’ll be launched jointly with four traditional public schools in five high-poverty neighborhoods: East New York and Brownsville in Brooklyn, the South Bronx, Jamaica in Queens and East Harlem in Manhattan.
“These [eight] schools will collaborate on academic program development and share economies of scale with regards to operations,” say the documents submitted to state Education Department.
They would also share a single board of trustees, with Melanie Hartzog, an official in City Hall’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, as a proposed member.
Throughout his administration, Bloomberg has been a vocal proponent of charter schools, which are privately managed but funded with taxpayer money.
Despite being part of the mayor’s charitable initiative to tackle the disparities between young black and Hispanic men and their peers in such areas as education and employment, City Hall and city Department of Education officials insisted yesterday that the educational program covering the new charters was not being funded directly by Hizzoner’s philanthropic group.
They said the schools were part of a side component funded solely by Soros, but they couldn’t explain exactly how the funding streams are kept apart.
That apparent intermingling was seen as troublesome to some policy-makers.
“It seems like it’s too close for comfort. It should be arm’s length,” said Patrick Sullivan, the Manhattan borough president’s appointee to the school policy board, known as the Panel for Educational Policy.
“The mayor and the [city] DOE should be focused on managing public schools,” he added. “It should really be a separate initiative, with separate people and separate funding.”
The reality is, Bloomberg LP, Bloomberg Philanthropy and the Bloomberg Administration are all one entity.
Bloomberg's functionaries (think Kevin Sheekey and Patricia Harris) have moved back and forth between Bloomberg's administration and his company and non-profit with clear conflicts of interest.
But that's American capitalism in the 21st Century.
You can bet if Bloomberg/Soros open these schools, they will have all the support they need.
There will be no 89 students to a classroom, standing or sitting on radiators because there are not enough desks.