From the Daily News:
New York's Race to the Top never got out of the starting gate.
Bickering state lawmakers could not agree on a plan to lift the cap on charter schools by Tuesday's 4:30 p.m. deadline to apply for up to $700 million in federal education money.
"It's dead," Assembly Education Committee Chairwoman Catherine Nolan declared moments before the deadline passed.
Gov. Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg called the failure a "sad day for the children" and said it torpedoed the state's chances of winning substantial federal money.
"It is unthinkable that after being advised to make specific changes to enhance our application, the legislative leaders could not come to an agreement," Paterson and Bloomberg said in a joint statement.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) blamed Bloomberg and city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein for the Legislature's inaction.
"Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein were willing to sacrifice the creation of 200 more charter schools rather than accept any limitation on their unchecked power to ignore the voices of parents and displace traditional public schools from existing classroom space," Silver said.
From the NY Times:
The bill favored by the leaders of the Senate and Assembly would have raised the limit on the number of charter schools in the state to 400 from 200, but added restrictions on how they are created and run. Giving voice to complaints that the mayor and his schools chancellor, Joel I. Klein, were championing charter schools at the expense of traditional schools, the bill would have stripped the city of the power to recommend the creation of charter schools, leaving that authority with the state Board of Regents. The bill also would have prevented charter schools from moving into traditional public school buildings unless parents of the public school students approved.
The plan favored by the governor and the mayor would have raised the limit on the number of charter schools to 460. That bill also omitted most of the Legislature’s proposed restrictions.
The delay forced the state into a nerve-racking waiting game. The signed application needed to be federal officials’ hands in Washington by 4:30 p.m. The distance between New York State’s Washington office and the federal Department of Education offices is about two miles.
At about 4 p.m., the governor instructed the state’s Washington office to go ahead. Two state employees took the application in a cab and handed it in at 4:10 p.m., the governor’s office said.
Missing the deadline would have meant forfeiting round one of the competition and waiting until round two; applications for that round are due in June. But legislators gave no indication of if or when they would take up the charter school bill again.