Gounardes, Golden Clash Over Charter & Private Schools

State Sen. Marty Golden (R) and his Democratic opponent Andrew Gounardes in the upcoming 22nd State Senate District race clashed over the lifting of a cap for charter schools when KCP asked the two candidates about the issue.

Charter schools are schools that receives government funding but operate independently of the established state school system in which it is located. Generally speaking they have been very successful at closing the academic gap between Asians, whites, blacks and Hispanics.

This is particularly true in low-income neighborhoods where regular public schools underperform on state English and math tests while students in charter schools from those same neighborhoods are very competitive with whites and Asians on the tests.

State lawmakers are charged with much of the tax dollars in school spending, including the lifting of the cap on charter schools and legislating possible tax breaks for parents that send their kids to private schools.

State Sen. Marty Golden

“Senator Golden proudly supports all of our children in all our schools. He supports a public charter cap lift, district schools throughout Brooklyn and New York City, and our community’s Catholic Schools and Yeshivas. Supporting education is not binary or either-or, public officials can and should support all of our schools. Marty has brought billions back to New York City schools, the largest funding increase in state history,” said Golden campaign spokesman Michael Tobman.

But Gounardes said he opposes the privatization of public schools and thus does not support lifting the cap on charter schools in New York City. He also supports the creation of a new Specialized High School in the district with a more rigorous academic curriculum such as schools like Brooklyn Tech in Fort Greene and Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.

State Senate Candidate Andrew Gounardes

“In southern Brooklyn, District 20, 21, and 22 are among the most overcrowded in all of New York City. I’ve proposed the creation of a new Specialized High School in the district, which will create more public school seats to alleviate overcrowding and I’m committed to fighting for the $62 million in funding that the State has owed our schools for nearly a decade. We need a state senator who will finally and firmly support our public schools, that’s exactly what I’ll do when I’m elected,” said Gounardes.

Gounardes said last year, 28,333 students applied for just 5,067 seats in Specialized High Schools, meaning that even students who study hard and pass the entry tests are missing out. “That’s not fair and it impacts overcrowding in all of our public schools, like my alma mater, Fort Hamilton High School, which is almost 200% over its capacity,” he said.

“Students from southern Brooklyn make up nearly a quarter of the Specialized School student enrollment, but our kids have to travel too far every day just to get to school. It’s time for a new Specialized High School right here in southern Brooklyn,” he added.

The election is Nov. 6. The district includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend and parts of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park and Midwood.

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