Parents Sue To Make Charter Schools Comply with State Law and Pay Rent

img.wp-smiley,
img.emoji {
display: inline !important;
border: none !important;
box-shadow: none !important;
height: 1em !important;
width: 1em !important;
margin: 0 .07em !important;
vertical-align: -0.1em !important;
background: none !important;
padding: 0 !important;
}

Hot Indie News

Parents Sue To Make Charter Schools Comply with State Law and Pay Rent

September 16, 2011

By James Lane

Bloomberg must stop subsidizing charter schools on the backs of public school students and working people

Today at a morning press conference, public school parents said “Enough is enough”, vowing to fight to ensure that the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) complies with New York State education law and charges co-located charter schools for their space and services in public school buildings.  The plaintiffs are represented by Arthur Schwartz of Advocates for Justice.  The press conference was followed by court hearings presided over by Judge Feinman in the State Supreme Court. Citing the law below, the plaintiffs said that Mayoral control does not give Mayor Bloomberg the authority to violate state law.  .

Article 56, Section 2853, Part 4(c): A charter school may contract with a school district or the governing body of a public college or university for the use of a school building  and  grounds,  the operation and maintenance thereof. Any such contract shall provide such services or facilities at cost.

New York State Education Law requires that when a district provides space or services to a charter school it shall do so “at cost.”  Yet the DOE provides free space and services for nearly 100 co-located charter schools. Using figures from the New York City Independent Budget Office, parents estimate that the space and services these charter schools currently receive is worth more than $100 million annually. Furthermore, this practice contributes to the fact that these schools receive about $2,000 dollars more per student in public funds annually than traditional public schools.

This lawsuit, brought by parents, seeks to stop the DOE from violating the law.  The illegal provision of free space and services has created a separate and unequal school system across the city, sparked divisive battles between parents and community members, and encouraged rapid charter school expansion at the expense of our other public schools.

Mayor Bloomberg’s abuse of Mayoral control has allowed this illegal practice to continue unchallenged until now.  Throughout history, many inequalities, abuses of power and atrocities were allowed until the people rose up and said “Enough is enough”.

Mariama Sanoh, a public school parent and Vice-President of the New York City Parents Union stated:  “Mayor Bloomberg is slashing school budgets, increasing class sizes, laying off school staff workers, cutting childcare programs, shutting after-school programs, cutting rental assistance programs, and refusing to support a millionaire’s tax, but giving freebies to friends who operate privately-managed charter schools on the backs of our children using our tax dollars.  In Mayor Bloomberg’s bizarro world, it’s okay to cheat our school children of a quality education and layoff their parents while hiring unqualified millionaire friends like Cathie Black and giving away $100 million dollars in city revenue to charter schools managed by his millionaire friends.”

Leonie Haimson, a public school parent and Executive Director of Class Size Matters stated:  “Co-located charter schools receive an illegal subsidy from the DOE in the form of free services and space, though state law said this should be provided at cost.  This illegal subsidy amounts  to more than $100 million this year   This means that co-located charter schools receive about $2,000 dollars more per student in public funding, which allows the charter schools to provide smaller classes, a better student/teacher ratio, more tutoring and, overall, give more attention to their students.

This is highly inequitable, especially as our public schools have suffered five years of budget cuts, and four years of rising class sizes, leading to the largest class sizes in the early grades in 11 years.  With the open complicity of the DOE, the charter schools have become parasites that are sucking the resources and space from our public schools.  This has got to stop, and this is why we sued and are here today:  to protect the rights of all New York City public school children.”

Faye Hodge, a public school and charter school parent stated:  “The law is clear, the New York City Department of Education is supposed to charge charter schools rent.  That is what ‘at cost’ means.  My charter school has been in private space since it opened eight years ago and pays rent to our landlord just as all other charter schools do who are in private space in the rest of country.  It is not fair that co-located charters pay no rent, giving them $2,000 more per child.”

“My children who attend a public school and a charter school, in their own space, are each being cheated of smaller classes, academic intervention support, teachers, and school aides because Mayor Bloomberg is illegally subsidizing charters on their backs with our tax money.  As Chancellor Merryl Tisch said to former Chancellor Klein, ‘The charters are supported by billionaires.  Let them buy buildings.’   I agree with Chancellor Tisch.  The least charters can do now is follow the law and pay for their space and services.”

Noah E. Gotbaum, a public school parent of three and a member of Community Education Council District 3, commented:  “Co-located charter schools take in over $
2,000 more per student in taxpayer dollars, and hundreds of millions in private and foundation money.  At the same time, our ravaged public schools must educate increasing numbers of the most impoverished and vulnerable students largely neglected by these charters – the homeless, the serious special needs, the English Language learners.  When will our top elected officials, our business community, and the New York City Department of Education focus on and invest in the 96% of children in our traditional public schools, rather than continue to subsidize the quasi-private charters?

For a fact sheet about the estimates made in the case, see http://bit.ly/p7sAJD


var addthis_product = “wpp-5.0.7”;
var wp_product_version = “wpp-5.0.7”;
var wp_blog_version = “4.2.2”;
var addthis_plugin_info = {“cms_name”:”WordPress”,”cms_version”:”4.2.2″,”plugin_name”:”AddThis Sharing Buttons”,”plugin_version”:”5.0.7″,”plugin_mode”:”WordPress”};
if (typeof(addthis_config) == “undefined”) {
var addthis_config = {“ui_atversion”:300,”data_track_clickback”:true,”ignore_server_config”:true};
}
if (typeof(addthis_share) == “undefined”) {

}

225 Broadway, Suite 1902 New York, NY 10007, Tel: 212-285-1400 x 2, Fax No: 646-349-2986

Copyright © 2013 Advocates for Justice

/* “,”prev”:” */

Advertisements

Parents fight to keep charter out of Flatbush school with lawsuit

Parents fight to keep charter out of Flatbush school with lawsuit

BY MARK MORALES, DAILY NEWS WRITER, Thursday, September 08, 2011

Angry parents at a Flatbush middle school are hoping a lawsuit against the city will stop a charter school from squeezing into the school's building for good.

The Explore Charter school has been holding classes in the building on Parkside Ave. – home to Parkside Preparatory Academy – since late August.

A lawsuit filed by parents against the city's Department of Education is an attempt to undo the co-location arrangement approved by the city in May.

"It's an egregious example of how the DOE is pushing its policy favoring charter schools to the detriment of poor and working-class students in the public school system," said Arthur Schwartz, a lawyer for Advocates for Justice.
The suit, one of two co-location suits set to go before a judge next week, charges the city never published key documents in languages other than English and doesn't specify how the co-location will affect special education programs at Parkside Preparatory Academy.

The charter school joined Parkside Preparatory Academy and a school for special needs students in the building.

"They say this will have no impact on special education programs but that's impossible," said Schwartz. "They're supposed to explain how they are going to accommodate them and they don't do that."

Education Department officials declined to comment on the suit.

Parents of current and former students at Parkside Preparatory Academy said they were afraid the lack of space would hold back their children's development.

"I'm concerned for his physical and mental well-being," said Michelle Morgan, whose son is entering the seventh grade. "There's going to be more kids in that space and it's going to be too crowded. I'm worried it will affect his performance but I'm hoping that it doesn't."

Serana James, 34, said she was glad her son David graduated just before the charter school came in.

"I'm just sorry for the other students that have to deal with it. It's going to be too crowded," she said.

Officials for Explore Charter School did not return a call seeking comment.

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2011-09-08/local/30147069_1_charter-school-parents-fight-angry-parents#.TnNBISpE0Qg.email

TV Coverage- Parents File Lawsuit Against DOE Over Charter School Co-Locations

 

Parents File Lawsuit Against DOE Over Charter School Co-Locations

The battle over charter schools and whether they should be allowed to use space in public school buildings free of charge is playing out in court, as some parents have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education.
http://manhattan.ny1.com//Default.aspx?ArID=147298

09/15/2011 09:43 PM

Parents File Lawsuit Against DOE Over Charter School Co-Locations

By: NY1 News

  To view our videos, you need to
enable JavaScript. Learn how.
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.

Then come back here and refresh the page.

 

The battle over charter schools and whether they should be allowed to use space in public school buildings free of charge is playing out in court.

Parents filing a lawsuit against the Department of Education say that it’s illegally giving 100 charter schools free space in city public schools.

One parents’ group estimates that the city loses $100 million annually by not charging the charter schools rent.

“My biggest advocates are my children, and I have to advocate for them so I want to see changes made. Big changes made,” said one parent.

“Right now, basically they’re getting a free ride. That’s money that could be collected, and not only would it be able to add teachers into the classroom, but it would be able to add support services,” said another.

“The list of inequities is long as is our fight to redress them, and we are here today because we need to stop this free ride that’s occurring at the expense of our students,” said a third.

Attorneys for the city argue that district schools get facilities funding while charter schools don’t and that making charter schools pay rent would force the closure of some of the highest-performing schools in the city.

An affidavit filed by the DOE adds that there’s no extra cost for co-locating charter schools because students who attend them would likely attend public schools if the charter schools did not exist.

 

 

Taking DOE to court, parents resurrect battle over co-locations

img.wp-smiley,
img.emoji {
display: inline !important;
border: none !important;
box-shadow: none !important;
height: 1em !important;
width: 1em !important;
margin: 0 .07em !important;
vertical-align: -0.1em !important;
background: none !important;
padding: 0 !important;
}

Lawyers for the Department of Education were back on the defense in Judge Paul Feinman’s courtroom on Thursday morning to argue a new twist on an old charter school co-location debate.

A new lawsuit argues that more than 80 charter schools sited in public school buildings have gotten free rides on facilities expenses such as utilities and building maintenance. Parent groups who brought the lawsuit earlier this summer are suing want the DOE to collect more than $100 million in rent money that they say should have been charged.

Today’s hearing on the lawsuit, which did not yield an immediate decision, comes less than two months after the same judge rejected the United Federation of Teachers and NAACP’s request to halt all charter school co-locations. That lawsuit argued that the co-location plans favored the charter schools.

In today’s hearing, arguments focused on the city’s policy, in place since 2003, that lets charter schools share space free of charge. Eighty two charter schools are now occupied in public buildings that house an estimated 27,500 students, according to court papers.

New York State charter law, first written in 1999, states that charter schools can be located within a public school building “at cost” based on what they are charged to rent, lease or own private or public space. How much “at cost” should be worth – if anything at all – was a major source of disagreement between the sides.

Arthur Schwartz, arguing for the plaintiffs, said in court that the charter schools in public school buildings should have to pay for the per-pupil costs because it provided them with inequitably favorable resources at a time when district schools are forced to cut their budgets.

“It gets at the heart of some of the disparities of the tales that we’ve heard in the schools,” Schwartz told Feinman.

Schwartz cited an Independent Budget Office report that concluded that charter schools received more per-pupil funding because of costs that weren’t factored into its budget. Schwartz used the number to tally the $100 million bill. A plaintiff on the suit, Noah Gotbaum, clarified that they would likely have to recalculate based on more precise estimations.

Defendants representing charter schools in the lawsuit vigorously rejected the totals filed in court papers DOE lawyers argued that even if the totals were accurate, they were in no way required to charge charter schools money for these expenses in the first place. “At cost,” they said, only applied if the DOE had contracts with the charter schools and none of them were.

In a joint statement put out by Kerri Lyon, a spokeswoman for the New York City Charter Center, 13 schools named in the lawsuit criticized the lawsuit as politically-charged.

“The simple truth is that district schools get facilities funding while charter schools don’t. Forcing public charter schools to pay rent would create enormous inequities and force the closure of some of the highest performing schools in the city.”

More than a dozen charter school operators named in the lawsuit also testified that, if forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars that was being asked of them, they’d be forced to severely cut staff and, in some cases, close their schools.

Feinman ordered another hearing date for Sept. 28. A person involved in the lawsuit said that it was unlikely that the judge would take immediate action because it would disrupt the school year.

“Whatever happens, it’s unlikely that the charter schools are going to be immediately given a bill for $100 million next week,” the source said.


var addthis_product = “wpp-5.0.7”;
var wp_product_version = “wpp-5.0.7”;
var wp_blog_version = “4.2.2”;
var addthis_plugin_info = {“cms_name”:”WordPress”,”cms_version”:”4.2.2″,”plugin_name”:”AddThis Sharing Buttons”,”plugin_version”:”5.0.7″,”plugin_mode”:”WordPress”};
if (typeof(addthis_config) == “undefined”) {
var addthis_config = {“ui_atversion”:300,”data_track_clickback”:true,”ignore_server_config”:true};
}
if (typeof(addthis_share) == “undefined”) {

}

225 Broadway, Suite 1902 New York, NY 10007, Tel: 212-285-1400 x 2, Fax No: 646-349-2986

Copyright © 2013 Advocates for Justice

/* “,”prev”:” */

Lawsuits target charters in Brooklyn

img.wp-smiley,
img.emoji {
display: inline !important;
border: none !important;
box-shadow: none !important;
height: 1em !important;
width: 1em !important;
margin: 0 .07em !important;
vertical-align: -0.1em !important;
background: none !important;
padding: 0 !important;
}

A last ditch effort to stop a charter school from squeezing into the same building as two other Coney Island schools is going before a judge next week.

A lawsuit filed by parents at Intermediate School 303 is the last chance they have to keep Coney Island Preparatory Public Charter School out of the building on West Ave.

“This (building) has two schools in it already,” said Chris Owens, executive director of Advocates for Justice. “That’s a very big deal”

The suit is one of two co-location cases that are on the court calendar for next Thursday. Parents for Parkside Preparatory Academy are also trying to keep Explore Charter School from moving into their Parkside Ave. building.

Lawyers for IS 303 parents will argue that an independent study done by the education think tank 21st Century Fund found the school’s unique model – where teachers rather than students change classes – will have to be abandoned if the charter school moves in.

The teachers-change-classrooms strategy helped earn IS 303 an “A” rating from the city Department of Education last spring.

“They were able to get more students to spend more time on task and it was making a difference academically,” said Mary Filardo, 21st Century School Fund executive director. “They are going to lose the ability to use the school in that manner.”

Coney Island Prep has been holding classes for their 270 students in designated classrooms on the first, second and third floors of the building since late August.

“If (Education Dept. officials) believe that placing Coney Island Prep in this building would negatively impact IS 303 or (the) Rachel Carsons (School) they wouldn’t do it,” said Jacob Mnookin, Coney Island Prep. charter school executive director. “Those are their schools too.”

DOE officials declined to comment.


var addthis_product = “wpp-5.0.7”;
var wp_product_version = “wpp-5.0.7”;
var wp_blog_version = “4.2.2”;
var addthis_plugin_info = {“cms_name”:”WordPress”,”cms_version”:”4.2.2″,”plugin_name”:”AddThis Sharing Buttons”,”plugin_version”:”5.0.7″,”plugin_mode”:”WordPress”};
if (typeof(addthis_config) == “undefined”) {
var addthis_config = {“ui_atversion”:300,”data_track_clickback”:true,”ignore_server_config”:true};
}
if (typeof(addthis_share) == “undefined”) {

}

225 Broadway, Suite 1902 New York, NY 10007, Tel: 212-285-1400 x 2, Fax No: 646-349-2986

Copyright © 2013 Advocates for Justice

/* “,”prev”:” */

Parents fight to keep charter out of Flatbush school with lawsuit

img.wp-smiley,
img.emoji {
display: inline !important;
border: none !important;
box-shadow: none !important;
height: 1em !important;
width: 1em !important;
margin: 0 .07em !important;
vertical-align: -0.1em !important;
background: none !important;
padding: 0 !important;
}

BY MARK MORALES
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Thursday, September 08, 2011

Angry parents at a Flatbush middle school are hoping a lawsuit against the city will stop a charter school from squeezing into the school’s building for good.

The Explore Charter school has been holding classes in the building on Parkside Ave. – home to Parkside Preparatory Academy – since late August.

A lawsuit filed by parents against the city’s Department of Education is an attempt to undo the co-location arrangement approved by the city in May.

“It’s an egregious example of how the DOE is pushing its policy favoring charter schools to the detriment of poor and working-class students in the public school system,” said Arthur Schwartz, a lawyer for Advocates for Justice.
The suit, one of two co-location suits set to go before a judge next week, charges the city never published key documents in languages other than English and doesn’t specify how the co-location will affect special education programs at Parkside Preparatory Academy.

The charter school joined Parkside Preparatory Academy and a school for special needs students in the building.

“They say this will have no impact on special education programs but that’s impossible,” said Schwartz. “They’re supposed to explain how they are going to accommodate them and they don’t do that.”

Education Department officials declined to comment on the suit.

Parents of current and former students at Parkside Preparatory Academy said they were afraid the lack of space would hold back their children’s development.

“I’m concerned for his physical and mental well-being,” said Michelle Morgan, whose son is entering the seventh grade. “There’s going to be more kids in that space and it’s going to be too crowded. I’m worried it will affect his performance but I’m hoping that it doesn’t.”

Serana James, 34, said she was glad her son David graduated just before the charter school came in.

“I’m just sorry for the other students that have to deal with it. It’s going to be too crowded,” she said.

Officials for Explore Charter School did not return a call seeking comment. 


var addthis_product = “wpp-5.0.7”;
var wp_product_version = “wpp-5.0.7”;
var wp_blog_version = “4.2.2”;
var addthis_plugin_info = {“cms_name”:”WordPress”,”cms_version”:”4.2.2″,”plugin_name”:”AddThis Sharing Buttons”,”plugin_version”:”5.0.7″,”plugin_mode”:”WordPress”};
if (typeof(addthis_config) == “undefined”) {
var addthis_config = {“ui_atversion”:300,”data_track_clickback”:true,”ignore_server_config”:true};
}
if (typeof(addthis_share) == “undefined”) {

}

225 Broadway, Suite 1902 New York, NY 10007, Tel: 212-285-1400 x 2, Fax No: 646-349-2986

Copyright © 2013 Advocates for Justice

/* “,”prev”:” */

Advocates for Justice Newsletter – 2011.09.01

 

 

Scales

 

The A4J Leader

          Vol. 1  No. 1   September 1, 2011

         (c) Advocates for Justice

                 Public Interest Law Firm

 

Dear Fellow Advocates,

Chris Owens Headshot
Chris Owens,
Executive Director
I am proud to update you on the work of Advocates for Justice!

As we look back on earthquakes and hurricanes, strikes and layoffs, and other challenges, we are also looking ahead to some important days.  Labor Day arrives with workers’ rights under attack like never before.  The 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks will be hard for all of us, as we remember so many who perished needlessly and the national trauma following that horrible day.

Immediately thereafter, primary and special elections take place in New York State and other areas (September 13), and we hope everyone comes out to vote.

In case you hadn’t heard, we are now located at 225 Broadway, Suite 1902, near the corner of Barclay Street in lower Manhattan.  Feel free to drop by.

Thank you for taking a moment to read our newsletter.  I hope you find it informative and helpful.

In This Issue… Save Nov 4th, Meet Nicholas Gaus …
Press Conference this Friday, September 2nd regarding 9/11 Zadroga Victims Compensation and the Chinese-American Community
Advocates for Justice in Court for public education cases
You can help Advocates for Justice

Advocates Help 9/11 Victims

Meetings provide needed outreach regarding the potential benefits of the Zadroga Act.   Press Conference scheduled for September 2nd. 

In addition to the work done by other organizations and by the Special Master appointed to administer the Zadroga Act, Advocates for Justice has already held three community meetings regarding the Zadroga Act and its implementation — in Battery Park City, in Chinatown and in Brooklyn.

A partial victory was secured when Special Master Sheila Birnbaum agreed to expand the proposed boundaries of the geographic cachement area pertaining to the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund to include more of lower Manhattan, including Chinatown.   

 

In the wake of this development, the Lin Sing Association and Advocates for Justice are holding a joint press conference on Friday, September 2, 2:00 pm, at the LIn Sing Association, 49 Mott Street regarding outreach within the Chinese-American community for Zadroga claims and the need for Chinese translators to ensure that the work is done correctly.

Advocates for Justice In Court
Education Issues Front And Center  

Parents fighting charter school co-locations in two Brooklyn schools will be heard in court on Thursday, September 15th.  IS 303K and MS 002K are having charter schools co-located within their buildings.  Appeals to the NY State Education Commissioner were unsuccessful.  Legal cases have now commenced before Judge Paul Feinman, 60 Centre Street, 2nd Floor.

In addition, a parent lawsuit against the NYC Department of Education regarding $1 rent for co-located charter schools will be heard.

For details, read the blog @  www.advocatesforjustice.net .  

 ____________________________________________________________ 

 

Arthur Schwartz Headshot
Arthur Z. Schwartz, Esq.
Board President

 

 

A Message from   

Arthur Schwartz 

 

Greetings!

Advocates for Justice has had an exciting first year of work thus far.  There is so much to do and we all have to do much with very little.

I hope you will join me at our First Fall Awards Reception on Friday, November 4th from 6 pm to 8:30 pm.  The event will take place at the UFT Building, 52 Broadway, on the 2nd Floor.

On September 15th, we will announce our honorees — men and women with the courage to stand up and be counted on issues of concern.  I know you will be excited by our choices.

If you are interested in being listed as a supporter on our invitation, please send an email right away to info@advocatesforjustice.net with the word “Supporter” in the subject line.

Thank you for your interest and your support!  I look forward to seeing you on November 4th, if not before.

________________________________________________

Would you like to help Advocates for Justice?

 

Advocates for Justice is looking for Project Attorneys to work pro bono on cases and we are looking for Project Associate, Development Associate and Community Associate interns to work on other projects as well.   

 

If you are interested or you know someone who may be, check out our website and send an email with the subject line “VOLUNTEER” to info@advocatesforjustice.net. 

September is “National Preparedness Month”

Turn awareness into action …  

 

Advocates for Justice

 
225 Broadway, Suite 1902

New York, NY  10007

212-285-1400 x 2


www.advocatesforjustice.net 

 

info@advocatesforjustice.net 


The Class of 2011

Below is a list of the Advocates for Justice summer interns for 2011, our Project Associates.  They have done great work and their time with us was greatly appreciated.

During this, our inaugural summer, Advocates for Justice took on numerous challenges — everything from education and wage & hour cases to moving offices mid-program.  These Project Associates, some law school students and several undergraduates,  showed that they can think as well as act in the best interest of clients at all times.

Ms. Rebecca Bub    

Bucknell University, PA    

 

Ms. Gillian Eigo  

Rutgers School of Arts & Sciences, NJ

 

Ms. Caroline Figgie  Davidson College, NC 

 

Ms. Allison Giroux  Quinnipiac University School of Law, CT 

 

Mr. Andrew Goodman Cornell University, NY

 

Ms. Elsa Ho 

State University of New York – New Paltz 

 

Ms. Katherine Jurado

Quinnipiac University School of Law, CT

 

Ms. Lindsay Michael

Villanova University, PA

 

Ms. Elisa Muyl  

McGill University, Montreal, Canada 

 

Ms. Nicki Neidich  

St. John’s University School of Law, NY 

 

Mr. Alex Newman 

Cornell University, NY

 

Ms. Rebecca Schwartz

Wesleyan University, CT

 

Ms. Jordan Speranza  Rutgers School of Law, NJ

 

Ms. Doris Wong 

University of Texas School of Law – Austin

 

Ms. Leslie Ye

Dartmouth College, NH  

 

Legal

Spotlight


Nicholas Gaus is now working with Advocates for Justice.

A graduate of Hofstra University School of Law and St. Francis College, Mr. Gaus has interned with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD.  He has also worked with several community organizations and helped to create a not-for-profit organization.

Mr. Gaus will be admitted to the New York State Bar this fall.

SAVE THE

DATE!

 


Friday,

November 4

6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

UFT Building, 52 Broadway, NY, NY

Advocates for Justice 1st Annual  

Fall Awards Reception

Honorees to be announced on September 15th!

 


Advocates for Justice | 275 Seventh Avenue | Suite 1760 | New York | NY | 10001-8407