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No talks today on bill to add more charter schools

No news is actually no news today in the battle over the state’s cap on charter schools.

Aiming to boost the state’s Race to the Top application, the State Senate passed a bill at the beginning of the month that would more than double the number of charter schools allowed in the state. To become law, the Assembly has to agree. But the Assembly’s version of the bill will hinge on the outcome of negotiations between the city and its teachers union that started last week and continued through the weekend.

But the city and union did not sit down for negotiations today, sources told GothamSchools. That means that any deal on the charter cap — which state officials consider essential to winning $700 million in Race to the Top funds — would need to come either tomorrow or Friday.

If lawmakers are able to introduce a bill into the Assembly tomorrow, they can vote on it Friday, according to legislative rules. If a deal is reached Friday, the Assembly will have to wait to vote on the cap lift until next Tuesday, June 1 — the day the state’s Race to the Top application is due.

This isn’t the first time lawmakers have gone down to the wire on the issue. On the day that the state’s first-round Race to the Top application was due, the legislature stalled on a cap lift bill, mainly over differences over how the schools should be overseen and authorized.

Some of the proposals that doomed the proposed legislation in January are now back on the table, sources said. For example, negotiators are discussing a plan that would allow the state education department to decide where and when charter schools are opened — rather than having school leaders apply with a plan for a new school. In January, Assembly lawmakers argued that the plan would prevent charters from over-saturating neighborhoods, while charter school advocates claim the change would kill the growth of the schools.

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