Bronx Parents Join NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to Demand Fair Funding for Public Charter Schools

As District Spending Climbs and Charter School Funding is Left Frozen, Bronx Parents Ask Albany to Fund Every Public School Child Equally


High Academic Achievement in Bronx Charter Schools Imperiled by Frozen Funding


BRONX, NY — The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce joined parents of children who attend Bronx public schools today at a press conference in front of Girls Prep Bronx Middle School to demand Albany fund all public charter schools fairly. The Bronx’s public charter schools, which vastly outperform district school options in the borough, are threatened by a state funding freeze that widens the gap in resources between public district and charter school students. Parents stood with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to call on elected leaders in the State Senate and Assembly to unfreeze the charter school funding formula and fund public charter schools equally.

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“Many of our members are first or second generation Americans. Today, they are pillars of their communities and leaders in New York City’s business community. Without access to quality schools, this would never have been possible. That’s why we stand in strong support of funding equality for public charter schools,” said Nick Lugo, President of the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Albany first froze the charter school funding formula in 2010, and over the past six years charter school funding has remained stagnant at insufficient levels. Per-pupil aid to New York City’s district schools has increased by over $2,000 since the funding freeze went into effect, but has increased by only $350 at charter schools across the five boroughs.

As the Bronx parents gathered at Girls Prep attested, public charter schools across New York City give children from lower-income neighborhoods the opportunity to receive an excellent education, a privilege long enjoyed by children who attend district schools in wealthier zip codes.

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“We want to thank Governor Cuomo for stepping up on this issue,” said Sulma Arzu-Brown, COO of the NYC Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Now it’s time for all of our leaders to do the same.”

District school spending has soared over this six-year period since the funding formula was frozen. This funding gap poses a real challenge to public charter schools, which could be forced to implement severe cutbacks to programs and personnel.

During his State of the State address in January, Governor Cuomo took a critical step towards closing the gap in public school aid, proposing an “unfreeze” to the charter school funding formula. Now, parents and education advocates from across New York City are asking state legislators to ensure the future of high-performing public charter schools by supporting the Governor’s proposal.

Public charter schools across the five boroughs have a proven record of success. During the 2014-2015 school year, public charter students in the South Bronx, along with their peers at Harlem and Central Brooklyn charters, outpaced district school students in Math and ELA, scoring significantly higher on state proficiency tests. In the South Bronx, charter school students were 24% more proficient in Math than their district school counterparts, and over 13% more proficient in ELA.

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“For thousands of parents like me, who are raising their kids in the Bronx, charter schools are the only alternative to low-performing schools in our community, said Kenia Rivera, a mother of three from the South Bronx. “I didn’t choose a charter school to make a political statement – I did it to make sure my kids get the education they deserve.”

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