As the State Senator representing the Albany City School District, I have become increasingly concerned with the number of charter schools moving into the area. I believe that Albany has reached its "saturation" point. Please know that I have written to the Board of Regents, the SUNY Trustees and Governor Pataki to express my views.
When the state charter law was signed years ago it was not intended to make Albany a "laboratory" for charter schools. The proliferation of charter schools in this district has begun to have a visible affect on public education in Albany and financially impede the District’s ability to adequately serve the thousands of students that remain in the system.
Experimentation in education is important, but charter schools should not be funded on the backs of the thousands of students who remain in the Albany public schools. It is impossible to determine that Albany’s existing charter schools are not at risk of failure and closure. I firmly believe that additional charter school applications for the City of Albany should not be approved until it is judged that the existing schools are demonstrating sufficient and solid performance. It is for these reasons and others that I have introduced Senate bill 1407, which would call for a moratorium on charter schools. I am also working on legislation to address the way new charter schools are approved and funded. Please be assured that I will work wholeheartedly for all of the school districts in Albany County when we return to Albany for the 2006 Legislative Session.