For Immediate Release: February 6, 2024
Contact: Gates MacPherson / / 603-770-6175


State Senators Kevin Parker and Kevin Thomas, along with Assembly Members Al Taylor, Brian Cunningham, and Stefani Zinerman Joined in Support to Fight for 27,000 NYC Students Denied Access to Facilities Funding

(Albany, NY) – At a rally with hundreds of New York City families, school leaders, and community advocates, State SenatorLuis Sepulveda (SD-32) and Assembly Member John Zaccaro Jr. (AD-80) today announced legislation that will ensure equitable access for school funding for over 27,000 charter school students whose schools are underfunded. They were joined in support by Senators Kevin Parker (SD-21) and Kevin Thomas (SD-6), along with Assembly Members Al Taylor (AD-71), Brian Cunningham (AD-43), and Stefani Zinerman (AD-56).

Funding Equity for Public Charter School Facilities

Charter schools are already the most under-funded public schools in NYC. District schools and nearly half of charter schools are co-located in NYC DOE-owned buildings. Under the Facilities Access Law passed in 2014, many NYC charter schools are able to receive rental assistance if they do not receive co-located space. Unfortunately, the law excluded privately located charters that had grown to capacity or established grades prior to the 2014-15 school year. These schools were essentially penalized for being long-standing members of the communities they serve.

Currently, there are more than 27,000 public charter school students in New York City who don’t have access to facilities funding because of a decade-old law. Students in these schools receive almost $5,000 less per pupil than district students – diverting critical dollars toward rent instead of funding for after-school programs and school supplies. NYC’s Black and Latino students attending independent or small network community charter schools are suffering the brunt of the funding disparity. NYSED’s Preliminary Enrollment Data show that overall, 90% of charter school students are Black or Latino; 79% of NYC charter school students are economically disadvantaged.

“There are more than 27,000 New York City charter school students who are effectively paying rent for their classrooms because the state does not equitably fund charter school buildings,” said James Merriman, CEO, New York City Charter School Center. “We applaud Senator Sepulveda and Assembly Member Zaccaro for spearheading this critical legislation, and we’re grateful to Senator Parker, Senator Thomas, Assembly Member Zaccaro, and Assembly Member Taylor for standing with New York City students and families today. Equitable facility funding is critical to ensuring all New York City students have the same opportunities to succeed inside the classroom, and we urge Governor Hochul and the legislature to support this bill.”

“Every public school student deserves to have their school facilities funded – but today, our laws lock tens of thousands of students out of the equitable funding they deserve,” said State Senator Luis Sepulveda. “This funding disparity is disproportionately impacting Hispanic and Black students from communities like mine – and it’s time for it to end. That’s why I’m proud to announce this legislation and look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to support all students and families in my district. ”

“No student should have to pay rent for their schools — period,” said Assembly Member John Zaccaro Jr. “I’ve heard from parents, teachers, and local leaders who are counting on us to do the right thing. I’m proud to announce this legislation and to stand here today with hundreds of families in support of equitable school facility funding.”

From closing the achievement gap for thousands of Black and Latino students to providing specialized education for students with IEPS or English Language Learners, charter schools have made a profound impact on the lives of New York City students and families,” said Jaime White, Chief Academic Officer, Merrick Academy. “Every child deserves access to a high-quality education that serves their individual needs and allows them to succeed inside and outside of the classroom, no matter where they live — and that’s exactly what charter schools have provided for thousands of students over the past 25 years.”