State regulators approved the applications to open 5 new charter schools in New York City over the next two years — following a Post campaign that pressured state lawmakers to ease the cap that blocked expansion.
The five new schools — Bed Stuy New Beginnings Charter School 2, Central Queens Academy Charter School II, Haven Charter High School, Kwenda Collegiate Girls Charter School and MESA Charter High School 2 — had been on hold since 2019 because of the rigid limit set in state law.
“These were five strong applications for new charters when they were first approved back in 2019 and even stronger – and needed more today,” Joseph Belluck, chairman of the State University of New York Trustees’ Charter Schools Committee, said in a statement Monday.
“Parents in these districts, some of which are within the most economically disadvantaged in NYC, are clamoring for a high-quality education option in their area and we’re confident these new schools will provide just that. These are applicants with a strong track record, that come from the communities they wish to serve and that have thoughtful plans to deliver innovative, rigorous academic programs to children and young adults that need them most,” he said.
SUNY is one of the two authorities that review, approve and reject charter school applications, along with the state Education Department/Board of Regents.
Two of the five schools — Central Queens Academy Charter School II and Bedford Stuyvesant Charter School 2 — will open in August, 2024. Central Queens Academy will eventually serve grades K to 8 and Bed Stuy Charter grades K to 5.
Math, Engineering, and Science Academy Charter High School 2 will open in August 2025 and serve students covering the heavily Asian and Hispanic neighborhoods in southwestern Brooklyn’s District 20. It will seek to replicate the successful MESA HS in Bushwick.
The Haven Charter High School will open in August 2025 and serve students in the south Bronx and northern Manhattan and focus on career and technical education programs.
The Kwenda Collegiate Girls Charter School also will launch in August 2025 in Brooklyn’s District 22 eventually serving students in grades K to 8 from East Flatbush, Flatbush and Flatlands.
In April, Gov. Kathy Hochul and the legislature approved a law as part of the state budget that paved the way for 14 new charter schools to open in the Big Apple’s 5 boroughs, and 8 others outside the city — 22 in total.
The deal was only agreed to following a grueling political fight with anti-charter teachers’ unions and their allies in the Legislature.
Hochul’s initial plan would have removed a state cap of 275 within the five boroughs and allow for the reissuance of so-called “zombie” licenses from shuttered schools.
But Democrats who control the state Senate and Assembly rejected that proposal, following fierce opposition from the United Federation of Teachers.
An accord was reached allowing the 22 “zombie” charters to be reissued to new schools, with Hochul agreeing to have the state pick up the entire tab for the cost.
The Post published a series of stories showing the academic success of charter school stories, whose students often outperform those in traditional public schools.
The state law allowing charter schools was approved in 1998 by then-Gov. George Pataki and the sector’s educators and backers are celebrating the 25th anniversary.
There are now 142,500 students enrolled in 274 charter schools throughout the five boroughs – roughly 15% or one of every six public school students.