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PR- 098-07
April 2, 2007


Mayor's Push for more Charter Schools Wins Approval in Albany; 50 New Charters Will Help Meet Growing Parental Demand

Open House on Creating New Charter Schools Will Be Held on April 26

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced the next steps in creating new schools and charter schools for New York City students, following this weekend's passing of the State Budget that allows for the creation of an additional 100 charter schools in New York State, 50 of them in New York City, nearly doubling the number of existing charter schools.  The Governor and Legislature's decision to increase the cap on charter schools has made it possible for the City to move full speed ahead with its plan to create successful new schools for New York City students.  The Department of Education (DOE) will also host an Open House for educators and community leaders interested in starting new schools and charter schools that will be held at the High School for Health Professions on April 26.  By September 2007, the Bloomberg Administration will have opened 232 new small schools, 10 new elementary schools, and 38 charter schools, creating high-quality choices for the City's students and families. 

"All New York City children-not just those whose parents can afford expensive private schools-deserve the kinds of high-quality choices we've been working to create," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "I applaud Governor Spitzer and the State Legislature for listening to what parents have been saying for years: create more charter schools.  Both test scores and lengthy waiting lists have proven that charter schools perform at high levels, and that we owe it to students and parents to create more of them." 

Until last week's decision, a statewide cap on charter schools paralyzed the City's plan to create more charter schools for New York City children. Now, the City is reaching out to educators and community groups that have expressed interest in opening new charter schools in their communities-and working with them to start the application and planning process. The Open House on April 26 will encourage educators and community leaders to create the next wave of new educational options for students and families.  Educators and community leaders interested in starting charter schools, as well as other types of independent schools, can learn about the application and planning process. They can also meet representatives from newly established schools and talk with some of the partners that have helped to create new schools.

"We know that our children win when they can attend great schools that set the bar high and push them to succeed-and we know that our school system as a whole wins when educators bring innovative, new ideas to our students," said Chancellor Klein. "We strongly support parental choice in giving parents the option to choose charter schools, and are delighted that the opportunity to create more schools has become a reality."

Charter schools, which admit students through public lotteries, currently serve about 15,000 students citywide, about 90% of whom are Latino and African American. Thousands of other students are on waiting lists for these schools. Three-quarters of the City's charter school students come from high-poverty communities and are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Charter schools are independent public schools, governed by their own not-for-profit Boards of Trustees. They operate under the terms of five-year performance contracts known as "charters."  The Mayor and Chancellor have worked hard to ensure that the new legislation did not restrict charters' independence or their ability to offer the innovative programs and services that have made them successful.

The Mayor and the Chancellor launched the New Schools Initiative in 2003, with the goal of creating better public school options for students in all five boroughs. Today, new small secondary schools serve more than 50,000 students, most of them in high-needs communities. Last year, there were 7.5 applications per seat, compared with 4.9 applications per seat in 2003.


Stu Loeser/Dawn Walker   (212) 788-2958

David Cantor   (Department of Education)
(212) 374-5141

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