It's about great public schools.


For Immediate Release: March 4, 2019 
Contact: Abdul Sada –


For the First Time Ever, NYC Charter Cap Depleted as SUNY Approves New Schools

Zero New Charters Available for New, High-Quality NYC Public Charter Schools

(NEW YORK) – Today, for the first time in the 20 years of New York’s charter movement, the NYC charter cap has been hit. The number of available charters for NYC has reached zero, following the State University of New York’s (SUNY) approval today of seven new charter schools. For months, the Charter Center has warned that the charter cap would be reached in the absence of legislative action in Albany. Now that the charters under the NYC cap have been depleted, quality school leaders from across the five boroughs are precluded from opening new schools and serving some of the City’s most vulnerable students. This effectively halts the growth of a charter sector that has shown remarkable results with fewer public dollars than district schools while serving the nearly same student population. 

 “Without a cap lift in Albany, today will be remembered as the day when progress in providing this city’s students the great public education that they deserve was arbitrarily halted. With both charter demand and student achievement at record highs, the nonsensical cap prevents quality educators from starting new, high-potential public schools, ultimately limiting school options for many of NYC’s underserved children,” said NYC Charter Center CEO James Merriman. “There is absolutely no reason to prevent new great public schools from opening – the need is so great. The time to raise the cap is now.”

The charter cap depletion comes as 2018 state test scores, once again, showed extraordinary outcomes among charter school students. Last year, 27 public charter schools were among New York City’s 50 highest performing schools in Math, while 21 charters were among New York City’s top 50 in ELA. Further, in 2018, Black and Latinx charter students not only continued to outperform their district peers by wide margins, but for the first time, both of these subgroups also outperformed white students statewide. 

 NYC Charter Gains Compared to Overall District Gains

*Calculated by taking the difference of this year's and last year’s proficiency rates which were 40.6% for District ELA and 37.8% for District Math, 48.2% for Charter ELA and 51.7% for Charter Math.

As test scores have soared, demand for public charter schools has never been greater. The number of applications to charter schools in the 2018-2019 school year reached 79,600 – a new record high. Consequently, students without immediate access to a charter spiked, with over 52,000 children on waitlists for the 2018-2019 school year.

New York City has increased the cap on charter schools twice before and has made more charters available in NYC numerous times.


Press Release