Opposition begins to Hochul's charter school plan
Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to expand charter schools in New York by eliminating regional caps and adding more slots for students. It's a move that's already meeting opposition from Hochul's fellow Democrats in the state Legislature.
Hochul's charter school plan contained in her $227 billion state budget plan touches on a deeply controversial issue for the state's teachers unions, which remain politically influential with many lawmakers.
Hochul's proposal would keep a statewide cap in place of 460 charter schools. But it would add 85 more slots for new schools anywhere in New York.
New York City charter schools are currently capped at 275.
Hochul called the proposal on Wednesday a "common sense" move that would also allow for the growth of charter schools by re-issuing charters that may have closed after July 2015.
State Sen. John Mannion, a Democrat from the Syracuse area and a former teachers union leader, blasted the proposal, saying it's something he can't support.
“As someone who has spent nearly 30 years in the classroom, I have experienced firsthand the tremendous positive impact that public schools have on student success and the negative impact that charter schools have on the public education system," Mannion said. "New charter schools will drain resources from districts that serve communities with the highest needs, sending funds to corporate charter networks with different rules that lack transparency and accountability."
Labor unions have flexed their muscle at the Capitol so far this year.
Democrats in the state Senate Judiciary Committee more broadly rejected Hochul's nominee in January to lead the state Court of Appeals amid opposition from labor leaders. Hochul is yet to name a replacement candidate or move ahead with a potential lawsuit to force a full vote in the chamber.