Mayor de Blasio:
As CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools, I’m accountable not only to the families who send their children to our schools, but also to the hundreds of teachers and staff who serve those children. As mayor, you are accountable to those same parents, children, and teachers as well. When your administration delays in making payments owed to those children, it puts school operations — and their education — at risk.
As of yesterday, May 11, payment of $1,990,977.67 in per pupil funding for the students at Success Academy Harlem 3 has not been received from the Department of Education. By statute, payments were due by May 1, meaning that Success Academy Harlem 3’s payment is now delayed by over one week.
In addition, payment to Success Academy Harlem 5 in the amount of $1.3 million was not received until May 5, also past due. It should not take repeated emails and phone calls from my staff to the Department of Education to track down these payments. The lack of explanation or even the courtesy of a response from DOE staff is baffling. Is this deliberate negligence or just dysfunction?
Teachers and principals must be paid. It is imperative that we receive this payment today, and that future payments be made on time. This funding is essential to operating our schools in a fiscally responsible manner.
As you know, charter schools are highly accountable for their financial management, and as such we take such matters seriously. Success Academy must report details of our fiscal performance to the New York State Education Department as well as the State University of New York. Our opponents, who are ceaseless in their quest to find fault in our operations, would like nothing more than for us to be delinquent in our own financial obligations.
I should not have to write dunning letters to the mayor of New York City to ensure that public school students get the funding they are owed. I hope you appreciate the urgency of this situation and will help remove whatever roadblocks have caused this delay. It’s vital that we receive the outstanding payment for Success Academy Harlem 3 today, and that steps are taken to ensure that such delays will not happen in the future.