Charter law in NY State requires charters to pay for any city services or facilities at cost. The Success Academy Charter School group - which has 22 schools in NYC, all co-located with a real public school - is upset that de Blasio and others want that law enforced. From the NYC Public School Parents blog:
Arthur Schwartz, attorney with Advocates for Justice, who first filed a lawsuit on behalf of public school and charter school parents on this issue in 2011, says: “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 more than 100 co-located charter schools. Using figures from the NYC Independent Budget Office, we estimate that the space and services these charter schools currently receive is worth more than $100 million a year. A large chunk of that unfair subsidy goes to Success charters, which operates 22 schools across New York City, all of them co-located, with plans for seven more schools in 2014. Yet Success had an operating surplus of more than $23 million in 2012, and probably enjoys an even larger surplus this year.”
So this charter chain is running in the black to the tune of $23M and yet doesn't want to pay for its share of a building. And the overall school system loses more than $100M a year.
The CEO of Success Academy, Eva Moskowitz, told her 4600 parents they needed to rally before the mayoral election. So she closed all the schools - on a school day - so they could march the kids across the Brooklyn Bridge (and the parents were supposed to come and accompany them). Can you imagine if a real public school did this?
From the article:
"This 'protest march' is yet another example of separate and unequal treatment afforded to charters, especially Eva Moskowitz's Success Charters," says Noah Gotbaum, a public school parent of three and a Vice President of Community Education Council District 3 on the Upper West Side and Harlem. "Success claims its schools are public, but what other public school could close their doors and demand that its parents and students attend a political rally? What other public school could sue the State Comptroller to avoid the transparency of a state audit? And what other public school could use our tax dollars to pay its CEO almost $500,000 per year?
You might ask, so how did Success Academy get away with not paying? One name - Michael Bloomberg.
Washington State charter law says that districts have to share space if there is any available at public school buildings, at or BELOW market rates.