charter schools

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Charter school advocate Campbell Brown, speaking at the state’s annual business council meeting, took both state politicians and teacher unions to task for what she says is a failing public school system.  

The teachers union and its allies will protest outside the annual Business Council of New York State's meeting in Lake George on Wednesday.  The union is upset over a speech to be given by former CNN anchor and now charter school advocate Campbell Brown.

Campbell Brown is the featured speaker at the yearly event, at the posh Sagamore Resort on Lake George. It often features top politicians, but seldom attracts demonstrations.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The annual state report on lobbying is out, and it finds that $226 million was spent on influencing government leaders, with the largest amount from education groups.

It’s not a surprise that education entities spent the most money on lobbying than any other group in 2014, just as controversy over the new Common Core standards and the related standardized tests reached a peak.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO file photo

 There’s just about a week-and-a-half left before the budget deadline, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers remain at odds over a number of issues, including whether ethics disclosure rules should apply to the governor as well as the legislature. They also disagree on a number of education reform proposals.

On Thursday, the Senate and Assembly called a public budget conference meeting. It lasted less than two minutes, and focused mainly on listing when subconference committees would meet and the relatively small amount of money they could haggle over.

Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

It was the charter schools’ turn to rally at the state Capitol Wednesday in support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to allow 100 more charter schools in New York.

Karen DeWitt/WRVO News

Hundreds of teachers are rallied at the state Capitol late Monday, saying they are calling out Gov. Andrew Cuomo for what they say is his anti-public school agenda.

The teachers, including New York State United Teachers Union Vice President Andy Pallotta, say Cuomo has declared a war on students, parents, and teachers, and is advancing a “test and punish” agenda.

“He has no respect for public education,” Pallotta shouted, as the crowd cheered.

Colleen / via Flickr

Teachers have been holding rallies all around the state protesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education proposals, and hundreds are expected to converge on the Capitol late Monday to protest over reliance on standardized tests, and other issues. Cuomo has called the teachers unions part of a “bloated bureaucracy” that he says needs to be broken. He wants teacher performance reviews to rely more on standardized test results, and he’d like 100 more charter schools in New York.

stgermh / Flickr

Supporters of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education tax credit were at the Capitol to persuade lawmakers that the credit, which would benefit donors to private and charter schools, should be approved as part of the state budget.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Charter schools across New York State could be getting a boost, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his State of State address last week, proposed adding another 100 slots to the state’s charter school cap and lifting the regional limit on the schools. One non-profit charter school operator in the Syracuse area is already bursting at the seams and looking to expand.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered his joint State of the State and budget message, proposing a $141.6 billion spending plan that in part sets up a show down with teachers and education advocates.

The governor wants 100 more charter schools and an overhaul of teacher evaluations, which he says are “baloney,” because virtually all teachers are rated as adequate.

“Ninety-eight percent of the teachers rated effective,” Cuomo said. “Who are we kidding, my friends?”

Karen DeWitt / WRVO

Hundreds of school children, parents, union organizers and leaders came to the Capitol in Albany to rally for more money for New York’s schools. The event was part of what’s become known as the Moral Monday movement.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News


Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, has joined up with the state’s Working Families Party to criticize what she says is a Wall Street hedge fund takeover of  the state’s educational policies.

Teachout, who was spurned by the Working Families Party when it endorsed Cuomo for re-election, has now joined with elements of the party to push back on proposals to lift the state’s cap on charter schools.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

School is out for the day at Delaware Elementary in Syracuse, but Principal Milagros Escalera is in the auditorium greeting a group of students who stuck around for a magic show.

"Did you pet the bunny?" she asks, as students marvel at the furry animal's bright red eyes.

Much like how the magician performed his tricks, what the future holds for these students and this school, is a mystery.

Charter school application sparks debate in Utica

May 8, 2014
James F Clay / Flickr

Concern is once again rising in the cash-strapped Utica City School District as the state mulls over the possibility of allowing another charter school to open.

A group led by Christina Johnson, an educator and local resident, applied to the SUNY Charter Schools Institute earlier this year to establish the Mohawk Valley Community Charter School within the Utica School District to serve elementary-aged children.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

For the fourth straight year, the Utica City School District is facing a deficit, causing the school board to consider layoffs. School Business Official Maureen Albanese says right now the district, which is among the state's poorest, is having trouble balancing its nearly $146 million budget.

"We had a $3.8 million deficit in the general fund, and we're looking at a $2.6 [million] deficit in our federal grants, which brought our total budget deficit to $6.4 million," Albanese said.

The state Senate and Assembly are scheduled to begin conference committee meetings on Monday, now that both houses have finished with their resolutions laying out their positions. 

Sticking points include funding for charter schools. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republicans want to restore changes made by  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to three charter schools. The mayor says the schools can no longer  have rent-free space in existing public school buildings.

New charter school proposed for Utica

Aug 10, 2012

A charter school in Syracuse is hoping to expand to another part of central New York. The school believes it can provide another option for children and parents.