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Huge win for NY charter schools

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

New York City charter schools will now enjoy some of the greatest protections in the country.

Under the new state budget agreement, for the first time ever, charter schools will be eligible for government funds.

“In the education area we also have significant protections for the charter schools and the charter school movement which is important for this state” Governor Cuomo said.

When it comes to the location of charter schools, the city will now be required to first look for space in regular public schools or pay much of the cost to house them in private space.

Mayor de Blasio will also be barred from charging rent.

At a news conference in The Rockaways, the mayor seemed to reject the notion that the budget proposal contradicted his previously stated goals.

“I am waiting for more details but my strong understanding, is it's going to continue exactly as we envisioned it" de Blasio said.

As for full day pre-K, de Blasio wanted to fund it, by raising taxes on high earning New York City residents.

Cuomo rejected the tax increase but, under the new budget agreement, allocated $300 million dollars for pre-k in New York City.

Basil Smikle is a political strategist who says the budget is clearly a setback for de Blasio's efforts to slow down the expansion of charter schools.

“This keeps them alive, for those people that support charters and those parents, this is a huge win for them” he said.

Here are some highlights of the proposed 2014-15 New York state budget negotiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders:

Total proposal: $138 billion, plus $5 billion in off-budget one-time federal aid.

Total growth held under 2 percent.

A $1.1 billion, or 5.3 percent, increase in education aid, with high-needs districts getting almost 70 percent of the hike.

Allocations of $340 million for universal pre-K during each of the next two years, with $300 million for New York City and $40 million for the rest of the state.

A $2 billion bond act pending approval by voters in November that would allow borrowing to fund classroom computers and technology as well as building pre-K classrooms.

Changes in implementation of the Common Core curriculum learning standards in English and math that will keep test scores off the transcripts of students in third through eighth grades through 2018.

Increased aid for charter schools, assurances they will have space to operate and making them eligible for pre-K funding.

The budget does not include the Dream Act, which would have allowed children of people in the country illegally access to state higher education aid.

A property tax credit as an incentive for municipalities to restrain spending growth and encourage shared services that could provide $1.5 billion to residents over the next three years.

Business tax cuts, including a 20 percent property tax credit for manufacturers who own or lease property and cutting the income tax rate for manufacturers from 5.9 percent to zero.

Funding to crack down on texting while driving by young drivers, who would have their licenses suspended for four months on conviction for a first offense and a year for a second.

A pilot program for public campaign financing of statewide campaigns that will involve the comptroller's race, with matching public funds of $6 for each dollar of eligible contributions and limits of $4 million each for the primary and general election.

Establishing a new independent enforcement officer at the state board of elections to investigate violations of campaign finance laws.

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