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Chancellor Walcott: Expect 50 More NYC Charter Schools

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg will meet his goal of opening 50 more charter schools before he leaves office at the end of 2013, but the future of charter school expansion after he leaves office is anybody's guess, Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said Friday.

"I don't speculate," Walcott told a group of charter school operators. "Life changes from minute to minute, especially in the world of education."

The city has opened 139 charter schools -- schools that are publicly funded but independently operated -- since Bloomberg took office in 2002, and another 25 are planned for the 2012-2013 school year. The growth of charter schools has been a contentious issue, with parents at neighborhood schools complaining that charter schools drain resources from the public schools they often share space with.

Walcott told the midtown Manhattan breakfast meeting of the New York City Charter School Coalition that charter schools and traditional neighborhood schools should not be "pitted against" each other, adding, "These are all our students."

While the original goal of charter schools was to provide options for low-income children stuck in bad schools, charter operators like Eva Moskowitz of Success Academies have pushed recently to expand into middle-class Manhattan and Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Walcott said he believes in "the expansion of charters throughout our system in all neighborhoods."

"Charters shouldn't be relegated to one class of parents or students," he said.

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(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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