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Cuomo says talks underway that could provide charter schools with space in traditional public schools

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday that a legislative solution which could provide “co-location” of charter schools within traditional public schools is being discussed with legislative leaders.

Cuomo’s comments came a day after Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver questioned Cuomo’s ability to commit additional state money to charter schools to pay for classroom space.

Cuomo said charter schools are public schools and shouldn’t have to pay rent to operate outside traditional schools. Cuomo said requiring traditional public schools to provide available space to charter schools could be done by law, without additional spending.

“Co-location is not money … it’s policy,” Cuomo told public radio’s “Capital Pressoom” on Thursday.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently reversed decisions by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg to allow three charter schools to operate in traditional school buildings. De Blasio wants to curb the growth of charter schools, which are public schools operated by private companies aimed at trying innovative ways to provide instruction.

On Tuesday, Cuomo announced at a charter school rally in Albany: "I am committed to ensuring charter schools have the financial capacity, the physical space and the government support to thrive and to grow."

On Wednesday, Silver said New York City schools already have a space problem and that should be addressed before charter schools are given space. Silver also noted Cuomo didn’t include any additional funding for charter schools in his budget or his amendments. Budget negotiations are now underway for a fiscal plan due April 1.

Cuomo again defended charter schools as the only innovative tool in public education. He said the public school system has devolved into an “industry mentality” that serves the employees backed by “front groups” acting as advocates of parents and students seeking more taxpayer spending. He said the “money, money, money” response to improving public education hasn’t worked.


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