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Two men and the union in a room, talking charter cap

Maybe we’ll have a charter cap deal after all.

We’re hearing that the mayor’s top political aide, Howard Wolfson, is in Albany right now meeting with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and representatives of the city and state teachers unions. They’re all trying to hammer out a deal that would allow 260 more charter schools to open in New York State. And they’re racing against a super-tight deadline: June 1, next Tuesday, when the state’s second application to the federal Race to the Top competition must be delivered to the U.S. Education Department headquarters in D.C.

Sticking points in today’s negotiations, we hear, include a continued effort to push against allowing SUNY to act as an authorizer of charter schools. Charter school supporters, led by the Bloomberg administration, say that snatching SUNY’s power is a poison pill that would force them to drop out of negotiations. They say the same thing about a proposal on the table that would mean charters could only open through an RFP-like process.

But our source says that the mayor’s side has given in on at least two key issues: a ban on for-profit companies managing charter schools and permission for the state comptroller to audit charter schools.

We’ll keep you posted as we hear more.