Joint Statement from Senator Shelley Mayer, Senator John Liu, and Senator Robert Jackson on Governor Hochul’s Budget Plans Regarding Charter Schools

Shelley B. Mayer

February 02, 2023

While we are pleased to see Governor Hochul follow through our mutual promise to fully fund Foundation Aid, we are deeply disturbed and disappointed by the Governor’s proposal – which she failed to include in the State of the State – to eliminate geographic restrictions on the charter cap.

The New York Charter Schools Act of 1998 allowed 100 charters to be authorized in the state, 50 by the Board of Regents on the recommendation of SUNY and 50 issued on the recommendation of other charter entities. The cap has ballooned over the last two decades with amendments to the law in 2007, 2010, and 2015.

As of October 5th, 2022, the State Education Department (SED) recognized 357 charter schools operating across the state, of which 287 are located in New York City. By removing the geographic restrictions for charter authorization, NYC could see an increase of more than 100 new charter schools. This will further increase the financial burden on NYC traditional public schools, taking much-needed resources away from schools serving the vast majority of our children. NYC Department of Education (DOE) is required to provide space for charter schools in DOE buildings or pay the rent for charters operating in private buildings.

Outside of NYC, many communities are overburdened and oversaturated by charter schools – including Albany, Buffalo, Rochester, and Lackawanna, which all have more than 20% of their students enrolled in charter schools. These schools place significant financial strain on school districts, sapping their ability to serve traditional public school students. All of these districts deserve our attention and action to limit the growth of charters, and ensure the financial stability of districts, so that every child is served with the best education possible. 

It is our duty to ensure each child in New York State receives an equitable education, with the resources and attention they deserve. Governor Hochul’s decision will leave students in our public schools with less. We urge the Governor to reconsider her proposal.

In Unity,

Shelley Mayer 
Senate District 37                              

John C. Liu                            
Senate District 16 

Robert Jackson
Senate District 31