The Wall Street JournalCuomo Educates de Blasio
New York's Governor rescues city charter schools.
By WSJ Editorial Board
Updated April 2, 2014 7:26 p.m. ET
Maybe Bill de Blasio should have played it a little cooler. New York City's new mayor roared into office promising a war on charter schools, and his main achievement seems to have been a political backlash. The budget deal that Governor Andrew Cuomo concluded over the weekend with state legislators overrules nearly all of Mr. de Blasio's assault on charters. It requires New York City's school district to find space for charter schools or provide a $3,000 per-pupil subsidy for private space. The subsidy would grow over time.
The mayor is also prohibited from charging charters rent and nixing co-locations without the schools' consent. Charter operator Eva Moskowitz, a particular target of Mr. de Blasio's union allies, will be able to open three schools as planned this fall. This is especially good news since her Success Academies are holding their annual lottery for admission on Friday and they include some of the top performing schools. Fifth-graders at Harlem Central Middle School, which Mr. de Blasio sought to close, have the highest pass rate of 2,254 schools in New York on state math exams.
The budget deal also increases per-pupil funding for charters over the next three years by $500 to $14,027, which is about two-thirds as much as what district-run schools receive. StudentsFirst New York says the modest bump is less than a quarter of what district-run schools will receive if spending increases at last decade's annual rate of 5%, but the mayor wanted zero.
As a consolation, Mr. Cuomo is giving the mayor $300 million for universal pre-school, though charters will also have access to this cash. Charters haven't previously been allowed to operate pre-K programs. Studies show that the long-term benefits of pre-school on student learning vanish over time, but maybe Success Academies or KIPP can do better. In any event, Mr. Cuomo deserves credit for putting children over union politics.