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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Not enough seats at charter schools

By Maya Rajamani
Posted

Northwest Bronx parents are finding it ever more difficult to find places for their children in charter schools, a recent study shows, with applications citywide increasing by more than 64 percent.

That is despite criticism and a lack of support from Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to a report released by the New York City Charter School Center.

Last school year, the center estimated that approximately 69,000 students applied for 18,600 charter school seats.

As of Jan. 31, charter schools in the New York City area had received 27,680 applications for the upcoming school year, up from 17,719 by the same date last year, according to a center spokesperson.

The Bronx had the highest disparity between applications and acceptance of any borough last year, with only 4,116 seats for the 24,647 applicants. In Community School District 10, only 19 percent of applicants obtained charter school seats.

During his campaign and in his first six weeks as mayor, Mr. de Blasio has vowed to charge rent for charter schools co-located in the same buildings as district schools.

Last week, the mayor reallocated $210 million in charter school funds to pre-K programs and halted future co-locations.

Even with Mr. de Blasio’s opposition, the NYC Charter School Center said that 21 new charter schools are set to open in the coming school year.

Marvin Shelton, president of the Community Education Council, said charter schools often provide an alternative for students who apply to schools near their homes but do not get accepted.

“It’s a safety net – it provides you more options,” said Mr. Shelton.

According to Mr. Shelton, Tech International Charter School on Corlear Avenue received 200 applications for 132 spots after opening its doors two years ago. Last year, the number of spots decreased, but applications soared to over 600.

The New Visions Charter High School for Advanced Math and Science on the Kennedy Campus in Kingsbridge has seen a similar spike in application numbers.

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