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Charter schools fight for fair funding in court

Charter school supporters rally for fair funding. They say charter students only get 68 cents to every dollar other public school children receive (WHAM photo)

Parents, teachers and students took their fight for fair charter school funding to court Wednesday. They are suing the state of New York citing inequality.

Supporters of charter school education, including the Western New York Advocacy Manager, Duncan Kirkwood, said charter students are not treated equally to other public school children in Rochester.

"For every one dollar a Rochester city school kid gets, a charter school kid gets .68," Kirkwood told 13WHAM News.

They said their schools are in disrepair and the resources needed for success just are not there. Parents, including the mother of two charter school students said her daughters are being shortchanged.

"I think my child deserves equal eduation, equal everything," Maria Dalmau said. "That includes equal buildings, equal technology, equal access to afterschool programs, sports and art. Everything other schools have," she continued.

Geoffrey Rosenberger is the Board Chair for Rochester Prep. He said non-charter public schools continued to be funded despite failing grades, while charter schools are more than 100 years old and have to fund themselves.

"The kids are failing," Rosenberg said. "Every charter school in Rochester outperformed the district. You should not have to choose between a good school building versus a good education."

Duncan Kirkwood said charter schools are a choice and people want them.

"There are over 3,000 kids on the waiting list here in Rochester," Kirkwood said. "If we could get equal funding, not only would the charter schools be better, there would be more seats."

Charter school advocates said it boils down to equality.

"Educating every child so every child has the best opportunity to succeed is what this court case is about," Kirkwood added.

"I believe my child is as equal as any other child in the city school district," Maria Dalmau continued.

A decision on charter school funding will not come for several more weeks. Northeast Charter Schools network said it may take a month, if not longer.

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