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De Blasio: We're Committed To Making Sure Charter School Kids Are Accommodated

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- For the first time we're hearing directly from Mayor Bill de Blasio after an about face in the charter school battle.

As CBS 2's Janelle Burrell reported, after kicking the Harlem Success Academy charter school out of space promised to them in a public school, Mayor de Blasio is now vowing to find space for them - somewhere.

"We're committed to making sure those 196 students are accommodated and that's something that we're gonna work out in the coming days," de Blasio said.

The mayor made the comments in Harlem, flanked by community religious leaders following a rally for his plan for universal pre-kindergarten.

So why the about face with Success Academy?

"There had already been a lottery, that was only one of the nine schools where there had already been a lottery. The kids had already been assigned so we do think it's our obligation to find a good solution for them and work on that right away," the mayor told Burrell.

De Blasio did not elaborate further, but he said the specifics of where the students will be placed and whether the students will be split up will be discussed next week.

The charters don't seem to be immediately taking de Blasio or schools Chancellor Carmen Farina at their word. A new television ad has been running this weekend.

Many parents of the charter school children believe the mayor's campaign platform of making charter schools pay rent to use space in public schools is unfair, Burrell reported.

Top educators applauded his reverse course.

"It's common sense, but the city made a promise to these parents and students last year. The parents won a lottery. We all know what winning a lottery means, how much it means to them and you just can't pull the rug out form under them in the 11th hour," said state Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch.

The mayor is insisting the students - regardless of whether they attend public schools or charter schools - have been his priority all along.

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