Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he could accept a Senate plan to provide more than $500 million a year for prekindergarten if there are no strings attached.
But he was far less receptive to charter school reforms, saying straight out that "I will not be party to second guessing the mayor on decisions he's made."
The Senate bipartisan governing coalition consisting of the Republicans and five dissident Democrats is expected to put forward a seven-point charter plan that would stop Mayor de Blasio's decision to rescind co-location agreements with three charters, provide building aid for charter schools at private locations, and increase per pupil funding for charter kids.
Silver took a shot veiled shot at Gov. Cuomo and Senate leaders who have received large donations from charter school interests.
"This whole right of having a building around you, yet there's thousands of children sitting in trailers in city public schools," he said. "Does anybody speak for their right. They don't have Wall Street billionaires who can put ads on or contribute to campaigns. And therefore nobody represents them and they're doomed to sitting in trailers for the rest of their school career. That's unfortunate."
"Some of that money from maybe all of the advertising would do well to build some buildings for a lot of students."
Silver also said one of the co-location agreements that was rescinded was for a school in his district and would have put charter school elementary students in with high schoolers--a scenario he called in appropriate.
He agreed with Cuomo that charters will be a major point of contention in the upcoming budget talks.
"There's clearly no agreement on it,' he said. "I don't see the urgency. They have existed. At the time the mayor rejected these three, he approved over 30 co-locations around the city. I think he has a right to look at applications and review things and see that three of them are inappropriate out of a batch of over 30. I find it difficult to argue with that."
So it goes.
I can see Cuomo trying to tie the pre-K money to charter funding/co-locations.
I can also see Cuomo possibly giving a little on the teacher evaluation law in return for getting some of what he wants on the charter funding/co-location issue (something that Eliza Shapiro reported at Capital NY early this month was a possibility.)
We'll see what gamesmanship plays out here.
At least we can say one thing about all of this - the next time Cuomo says he has nothing to do with education policy, we can laugh in his face and call horse @#$% on him.
One more point: Shelly's right about the kids in the trailers - who speaks for them?
Certainly not Eva or the charter operators or proponents.
They're looking to steal even more money from the public schools and put it into their coffers.
Which means more kids from traditional public schools in trailers and overcrowded classrooms.
Given just how much of that charter money already ends up back in the pockets of pro-charter school politicians like Cuomo, it's a disgrace what's going on here.