With progressive political winds at his back, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza is going after charter schools again.
A week after warning charters to stop disparaging traditional public school academic performance, Carranza urged Bronx parents to agitate against the sector in Albany at a meeting Tuesday night.
Carranza made his remarks after a parent objected to state law that obligates the city to pay rental costs for charters that are denied space in public school buildings.
The schools chief said he gets between 250 and 400 emails a day — and that many of them object to the financial and space burdens imposed by the sector.
“How many of the emails that I get are about ‘Why are you giving that space to charters?’” he asked. “‘Why don’t you fight it?’”
Carranza stressed that state law straitjackets the city — and that the fight needs to reorient from Manhattan to Albany.
“I’m going to say, with this new, revamped, on fire Assembly and Senate in Albany, this is our opportunity to make our voice heard,” Carranza said to applause. “If this is not okay, our elected officials need to hear that, okay? They need to hear that.”
Deputy Chancellor Karin Goldmark set the table for Carranza’s remarks by bemoaning the impact of charter school rental reimbursements on city coffers.
“It has cost the city $100 million so far,” Goldmark told one parent. “You raise a really good point. Which is that every time the city has to pay that rental assistance, that’s a dollar that comes out of the New York City school system.”
Earlier at the meeting, Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated his opposition to the city’s charter rent repayments — but said not all co-locations or city building placements are workable.
“I’ve been really clear about the fact that where there is an appropriate fit for a charter in a building, that’s fine, and when there isn’t, we have no problem saying that just doesn’t work,” he said. “And that’s caused some controversy. But I’m comfortable with that because we have to make sure our traditional public schools keep moving forward.”
Meanwhile, a Park Slope parental advisory board unanimously passed a pair of resolutions Tuesday calling for a citywide moratorium on charter school expansion.
Community Education Council 15 — which represents one of the highest-achieving and racially segregated districts in the city — asserted that it doesn’t need any more charters.
While there was little diversity of opinion on the board, which ostensibly serves as the district’s collective parental voice, more than 20 attendees lined up Tuesday night to pillory the resolutions.
Jose Luis Orbegozo, a district parent with kids in both traditional public schools and charters, asked the board if charter parents were eligible to serve on community education councils.
After the board murmured among themselves for a few moments, CEC member Elizabeth Velez said that they were not able to directly answer questions during the public comment period.
Charter parents — who are largely black and Hispanic — are not allowed to serve on CECs, according to the Department of Education.
“This is a process that is undemocratic,” Orbegozo said, before calling for the resolutions to be tabled. “It is excluding us as parents.”
District 15 served as the parental launching pad for a City Hall-backed abolition of academic screens at middle schools to undo school segregation.
“As a resident and parent in District 15, I’m proud that this district has taken the lead in the conversation around diversity and equity for students,” said one speaker. “So I’m kind of baffled that in the same breath, the CEC would consider a resolution that removes options for school choice for those who already have fewer options.”
But some speakers argued that expanding charter costs threaten the stability and quality of the