City charter contingent heads to Albany

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About 1,400 New York City charter school parents and advocates will lobby state legislators in Albany on Tuesday as they prepare to do battle with the de Blasio administration.

Tuesday's day of lobbying will be the charter movement's tenth annual "advocacy day" in Albany. The New York City Charter School Center sets the agenda for the day and buses parents back and forth from the city.

"Our agenda is pretty simple," James Merriman, the C.E.O. of the charter center, told Capital. "Parents want to let legislators know they support the governor's proposal to allow charters to provide high-quality pre-K seats," he added, referring to Cuomo's recent proposal that much-needed city pre-K space could be found in charter schools.

Lieutentant Governor Robert Duffy, State Senators Ruben Diaz, Sr. and Martin Golden, and assemblymembers Carmen Arroyo, Francisco Moya, Karim Camara, Felix Ortiz and Robert Rodriguez, will attend the rally, which will take place at 10 a.m. at the Egg.

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Merriman said despite this year's unique political drama, advocacy day "always feels pressing."

"We still need to do a better job of impressing on lawmakers just how important the choice the parents are making is to them," he added.

The de Blasio administration struck its clearest blow yet against the city's charter schools last week when schools chancellor Carmen FariƱa announced that a $210 million pot in the Department of Education's capital budget would be diverted away from charter school construction, likely towards the construction of pre-K seats under the mayor's plan.

In anticipation of Tuesday's day of lobbying, the United Federation of Teachers released a research report on charter funding on Monday afternoon, which included a list of the largest charter networks' assets.