De Blasio lashes out at Bloomberg’s ‘abhorrent’ charter position

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Bill de Blasio. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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Mayor Bill de Blasio dumped on his predecessor as he explained his decision to halt three charter schools from co-locating into district school space.

The mayor, who campaigned on a promise to charge wealthy charters rent, blasted the Bloomberg administration's stance on co-locating charters as "abhorrent," hours after he reversed a plan that would have allowed three of Eva Moskowitz's Success Academies to expand into traditional public schools.

"Obviously the leadership on this came from the Department of Education and [schools] chancellor [Carmen] Farina, but I agree wholeheartedly with her decision," de Blasio told reporters gathered in the 25th police precinct in Manhattan for a law enforcement announcement.

"We were handed a series of last-minute moves by the Bloomberg administration approving a number of co-locations in a way that I think was ill-advised but, you know, we're all mature around here," he added. "We knew that if they could get away with it they would. ... I'm not going to mince words about what I feel about how the Bloomberg administration made decisions on co-locations. I think it was abhorrent."

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He said the choice to cancel nine co-location approvals out of 45, including the three charters run by Moskowitz, a politically divisive figure in the city's charter-school debate, was based on his administration's belief that allowing their move "would be counterproductive to our children's education."

He said his main concern lies with the needs of the existing schools that would receive the new students through co-locations.

"I think the school that is receiving in any of these situations has some special rights and special considerations because there is a history and an operating reality in that school that's going to be changed by bringing a new school into it, and we have to make sure that the formula does not result in the receiving school constantly being on the short end of the stick, which has often been the case in the previous administartion," he said.

The mayor did not deny he could use the freed-up space for pre-kindergarten seats.

"This has nothing to do with the pre-K situation in and of itself," he said.

De Blasio said he will move forward with his proposal to charge rent to cash-rich charters, though his current Fiscal Year 2015 budget does not include projected revenue from that plan.

He also said he will push through a moratorium on co-location of charter schools.