Washington, D.C. New York State Supreme Court Justice Donna Siwek heard arguments Thursday afternoon in the Brown v New York lawsuit that challenges the funding scheme for public charter schools in the state. Attorneys for the charter school families argued that current funding is unconstitutional and discriminatory.
The lawsuit, which was filed last fall with the support of the Northeast Charter Schools Network (NECSN), includes five charter school families from Buffalo and Rochester as plaintiffs.
Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released the following statement:
"The National Alliance stands with the parents in Buffalo and Rochester who are fighting for a right to an education that includes funding for their children's schools facilities.
"A school should be free to focus on providing high-quality instruction that will best prepare its students for college and a strong career. Inadequate funding for these charter schools creates a roadblock for schools to function at their maximum potential.
"Denying fair and adequate funding affects students education and also violates their basic constitutional rights.
"During the hearing, the attorneys argued that the current funding provided to charter schools in New York is inadequate. Specifically, statewide, charter students receive about 25 percent less in funding than other public school students. The inequity is the most glaring in Buffalo where charter students see only three-fifths of the funding that students in traditional public schools receive. In Rochester, charter students only see 68 cents on the dollar compared to other public school students.
"Its important to note, all charter schools outside New York City and 40 percent of the charters within New York City are also denied access to facilities funding."
About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many independent research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit our website at www.publiccharters.org.