charters available to be issued for NYC
“We have a large number of charters that are not being used, let’s get those ‘zombie’ charters back on line, so we can get the best system in support of that. I am in support of scaling up excellence...”
NYC Mayor Eric Adams
What’s the Charter School Cap?
The charter school cap is the statutory limit on the number of charter schools that can open in New York State, which currently stands at 460 with a smaller sub-cap for New York City. Under the current cap, the state’s two existing authorizers, the New York State Board of Regents (Regents) and the SUNY Board of Trustees (SUNY Trustees), may issue charters so long as the total number does not exceed the sub-cap established for NYC or the statewide cap.*
How Many Charters Are Available for New York City?
None. Currently there are no charters available to be issued in NYC. Under legislation passed in the 2015 state legislative session, the charter school sub-cap for New York City increased to a maximum of 50 new charters, of which 0 remain.
Is There a Demand for More Charter Schools in NYC?
Yes. Charter school enrollment continues to climb, even in the midst of the pandemic: over the last two school years, charter schools saw a 9% increase in overall enrollment (notably, charter enrollment of English language learners increased by nearly 40%).
There are currently more than a dozen new and existing charter leaders that have been on hold to open new community-based charter schools in NYC. These schools conducted extensive community outreach to determine interest and need – families are waiting for these schools to open.
There is Precedent for “Reviving” Charters
In 2015, the legislation revived 22 New York charters that had been previously issued and then were surrendered, revoked, or terminated prior to July 1, 2015. These charters are typically referred to as “zombie” charters. As of March 2019, all of the revived charters had been issued by the authorizers.
Mayor Adams Supports a Practical Fix
NYC Mayor Eric Adams has expressed support for a previous proposal to reissue surrendered, revoked, or terminated charters in perpetuity. This approach maintains NY’s cap on charters, but provides incentive for low performing charters to be closed and replaced by new, high quality charter schools.
* Charter schools that are “conversions” from district schools do not count against the cap.