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MEMO IN SUPPORT OF S.7122(FLANAGAN)/A.

10659(CAMARA)
NYSUT misunderstands and misrepresents this legislation. 1. Bill Does Not Permit New Schools, Would Not Cause Enrollment Explosion NYSUT says this legislation would allow charter schools to operate at multiple sites and still count as one charter school, and could cause an explosion of charter schools. In fact: This bill does not change the way new charter schools are approved or counted towards the statutory cap. The cap remains as it was negotiated in May 2010. This bill provides no new resources for charter schools and creates no new space under the cap. It simply provides a new, voluntary tool for charter schools to serve more students with a wider variety of special needs. We are troubled that NYSUT would oppose such an outcome.

2. Bill Does Not Allow Segregation or Reduce Responsibility; It Lets Charter Schools Adopt Longstanding School District Practices NYSUT says this legislation could also allow multiple charter schools to segregate all of their students with disabilities to one site, while at the same time receiving credit for enrolling and retaining students with disabilities as required by the 2010 amendments to the charter school law. In fact: This bill does not change federal IDEA least restrictive environment requirements, nor the local Committee on Special Educations role in approving Individual Education Programs. Charter schools will still be accountable for student achievement and still have to earn parents loyalty. The bill merely allows charter schools to do what school districts across New York State do now: gather students with similar needs to provide specialized programs, and/or contract for BOCES services when that can benefit students.

3. Bill Does Not Create New Funding NYSUT says this legislation does not specify that charter schools that send students who require ELL related services or special education services would not be eligible for BOCES aid. Since charter schools are public schools the language in this bill is not clear as to whether charter schools are entitled to BOCES aid for services the same way they can claim aid for special education students if they provide the services directly or indirectly. In fact: Charter schools are public schools, but they are not component school districts of any BOCES and therefore would not be eligible for aid. The bill merely allows BOCES to enter into contracts with charter schools.

4. Bill Does Allow BOCES Contracting

NYSUT says this legislation does not limit services to just ELL related services or special education services. It allows charter schools to contract for any purpose with BOCES. In fact:

This claim is true and there is nothing wrong with that. Although special services are the most likely reason to contract, charter schools could also use their own funds to purchase other BOCES services where that would be most beneficial for students, which would not only benefit them but benefit the BOCES as well.

New York Charter Schools Association: 915 Broadway, Suite 110 Albany, NY 11207 518.694.3110 nycsa.org New York City Charter School Center: 111 Broadway, Suite 604 NY, NY 10006 212.437.8300 nyccharterschools.org