Can the Comptroller End the Space Wars?

The importance of solving the space wars

by Philissa Cramer

A peace treaty in the charter school space wars could be key to stabilizing school budgets.

That’s because senior lawmakers appear unwilling to allow more charter schools to open until the process the schools go through to find space is made less contentious. Many consider raising the charter cap an essential move if New York State wants to win more than $700 million in federal Race to the Top funds later this spring. Legislators failed to bring changes to the cap to a vote in time for New York to be competitive in Race to the Top’s first round of competition, whose winners are set to be announced today.

Today, GothamSchools kicks off a series of community section posts about how to solve the charter school space wars. First up is attorney David Bloomfield, who thinks the city comptroller should play a bigger role in setting space-sharing rules. He writes:

“While the chancellor has discretionary power over siting regular DOE schools subject to new procedural requirements, his power over district-sponsored and non-district-sponsored charter locations should be contested. Charters are publicly funded but privately-organized entities. Their right to occupy public space is arguably regulated by current city contracting mechanisms. … The comptroller is responsible for monitoring, regulating, and approving these contracts.”

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