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New York state’s charter rent law could be a model for the nation

25,000 parents and students showed up at a charter school rally hosted by Families for Excellent Schools (September, 28 2016)
25,000 parents and students showed up at a charter school rally hosted by Families for Excellent Schools (September, 28 2016)
Alex Zimmerman

New York’s hard-fought law guaranteeing charter schools public space or rent money as compensation is being held up as a model by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

The group, which aims to promote the growth of high-quality charter schools, created a “model law” as a template for states trying to enact more charter-friendly policy. On Wednesday, the organization released its revamped guidelines, which highlight New York’s approach to charter school siting. (Historically, finding space has been a sticking point for charter advocates, particular in New York City, where it set off a political battle two years ago.)

New York’s law, adopted in 2014, requires New York City to provide free public space or a rent subsidy for private space.

“That is one of the most progressive policies we have in place,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “We just wish that was something that was in place throughout the state and for all charter schools.”

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools also rates states based on how close they come to the organization’s guidelines. New York has historically done well. It ranked 7 out of the 43 states that had a charter school law in 2015.

Since New York’s building policy has been adopted in the largest school district in the country, she added, it might motivate other districts to do the same.

“That elevates the profile of the work,” she said.

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