Charter school fight heads to court

May 15, 2015

What's probably going to be a very long fight over the financing system for New York charter schools went into State Supreme Court Thursday.

Charter school proponents outline their case outside state Supreme Court Thursday.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Charter supporters want New York to pay for maintenance and operations of charter buildings, something it doesn't do now.

Before the substance of the court case brought by the Northeast Charter Schools Network can really get going, Justice Donna Siwek has to decide if the case can go forward at all, with the State Attorney General's office seeking to dismiss it at the start.

Network Legal Director Harold Hinds says the financing system is wrong and illegal.

"Here in Buffalo, charter school students receive 3/5 of what their traditional district school counterparts receive," Hinds said.

"In Rochester charter school students receive about 68 cents on the dollar for every dollar of funding that their district school peers receive. That is unequitable, it's unfair and it's unconstitutional."

Charter lawyers argued before Justice Siwek they don't get as much money as regular public schools and that's further diminished by the need to pay for things like rent and heat. They argued it doesn't matter that charter kids do better on tests than regular school kids because none are doing very well.