October 22, 2015
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – The top spending for lobbying activities include those pushing for more charter and non-public schools. The fight over the future of public education in New York State is a battle that will continue in 2016.
Charter school advocates and those wanting an education tax credit that would allow people to donate up to a million dollars tax-free for private schools spent over $7.5 million. That’s astronomical and making several lobbying and public relations firm rich.Bob Bellafiore, a spokesperson for the Coalition for Opportunity, a front organization supporting an education tax credit, said his group is leveling a playing field that has been dominated by one side of the education argument for decades.
Expanding charter schools throughout the state is their number one priority along with legislation allowing education tax credits that will provide millions for private and charter schools. These guys are the number one lobbying spenders with wealthy constituents behind them and no regard for the public school system.Charter schools held many rallies in New York City and Albany in an effort to gain support of legislators.
Some demonstrations were even attended by Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. Clearly this movement is well organized and funded.Governor Cuomo sought the addition of 100 more charter schools, but he and the pro-charter groups saw only a handful of new schools approved. The education tax credit did not win approval in the legislature when a majority of Democrats in the Assembly opposed it.