Friday, May 9, 2008


This article looks like it could be at least an important part of the solution to our problem; I'm surprised that Spencer Robertson, whose father is a philanthropist himself, doesn't appear to be aware of it. It's also nice to know that other people out there are noticing and reading my blog; in a recent email I received from Spencer Robertson, he said that he'd only recently read my blog and commented that he doubted that many other people were actually looking at it (despite the fact that there's a webcounter on it that as of today shows a count of over 1100 "hits"). Hmmm.

What I like about this particular material is that it doesn't just present the problem, but offers a potential solution for at least some charter schools, and presents specific examples.

Charter Schools To Receive Multimillion-Dollar Boost
Charter schools that have been struggling to find homes in New York will
receive a boost today from the Bush administration, in the form of a
multimillion-dollar grant. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is
presenting the award to a local group that finances, constructs, and renovates
charter school buildings, Civic Builders, Inc. The money will be used to aid
building efforts in New York City and Newark, N.J., charter schools, according
to sources familiar with the grant. Both the New York City schools chancellor,
Joel Klein, and the Newark mayor, Cory Booker, will be on hand at today's
announcement. The grant comes as charter schools in the city face what officials
at Civic Builders have termed a space "crisis." Charter schools are publicly
funded but privately managed, and state laws often do not guarantee them space
in public school buildings. In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg and his Department
of Education have worked to help secure space for charter schools, welcoming
them into public school buildings with some extra space, where the charter
schools usually get a hallway or floor and part-time access to the cafeteria and
gymnasium.They are becoming more and more common, but these sharing arrangements
are politically perilous, with parents and teachers at existing schools crying
foul and enlisting elected officials to back their protests. One school's
protest has migrated to the Internet, where a Red Hook mother started a Web log,
Charter-Free PS15. Another protest planned for this Wednesday is also expected
to draw attention to the issue.Civic Builders helps charter schools construct
and lease buildings that are separate from public facilities. With the help of
private philanthropy, it has transformed a Bronx parking garage into a
43,000-square-foot school and a kosher salami factory in Hunts Point into a
school with an arts specialty, and built a 90,000-square-foot school complete
with a 10,000-volume library, a climbing wall, and a rooftop athletic area in
the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. The grant is part of a federal
program aimed at making it more attractive - and less risky - for
philanthropists to invest in charter school construction projects. The Bush
administration has already awarded more than $175 million in grants to similar
projects across the country, according to Education Department grant lists.Source

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