March 5, 2001
Focus on


From the NYS Assembly Sheldon Silver, Speaker Steven Sanders, Chair, Education Committee

The Governor’s proposed budget breaks
a promise made just last year to our
schoolchildren and local taxpayers

Cuts education aid by $1.1 billion from current law

Note: For a complete listing of the Governor's proposed
school aid cuts, click below.

(pdf version)
(html version)

The Governor’s budget
denies our children a solid educational foundation.

New York State is faced with the critical
challenge of preparing our children to compete
in the 21st century economy. To meet that challenge, it is essential that we build a solid educational foundation for every New York child, beginning as early in life as possible.

Instead of providing local school districts with the resources they need to raise academic standards, the Governor’s so-called school funding “reform” actually cuts state education aid by $1.1 billion from current law and fails to address inequities in the school aid formula.

The Governor’s budget cuts $660 million from the Assembly's innovative LADDER initiative.

Experts agree we must reduce class size and start our kids’ education earlier if they are to achieve their full potential. That’s why the Assembly Majority spearheaded the historic LADDER program –– giving our kids the solid, early foundation they need to succeed. But the Governor’s budget cuts the LADDER program by $660 million from current law –– threatening to derail this critical Assembly initiative which has already begun to reduce class sizes and ensure pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten are available to every young child.

Especially hard hit in the Executive Budget proposal is Universal Pre-K, a key component of LADDER that has proven to be a resounding success. In 2000-01, 88% of eligible four-year olds were enrolled in Pre-K programs. Full funding throughout the state would establish New York as the national leader in providing pre-kindergarten programs and ensure that all the children of New York State are well prepared for a 21st century education. The Executive Budget seeks to reduce funding for this vital program by $275 million from current law.

The Governor also proposes cutting $85 million earmarked for reducing class sizes to a maximum of 20 children per classroom in grades K-3 –– despite the overwhelming evidence that smaller classes boost academic achievement, lower dropout rates and curtail disruptive behavior.

And the Executive Budget:

  • Cuts more than $97.5 million in vital teacher support funding, including teacher centers and mentoring programs –– undermining our efforts to recruit and retain teachers at a time when we are striving to ensure educational excellence and prepare our kids for new, higher learning standards; and

  • Cuts $31 million for BOCES –– jeopardizing local school budgets and burdening property taxpayers by cutting BOCES aid by 20%, funds that are used to reimburse districts for expenses already paid.

  • Eliminates the $80 million minor maintenance program established under LADDER to help schools keep their facilities up-to-date, safe, and in good repair.

New York Trails the
Nation in State
Support for Elementary Education

LADDER Has Already Begun
to Reduce Class Sizes

The Assembly Majority remains
committed to preparing today's students for the challenges of tomorrow.

The Assembly Majority has always made education a top priority. We will not allow any of New York’s children to fall through the cracks of our educational system. Preparing our kids today for the jobs of tomorrow is critical to ensuring a bright future for New York’s working families.

Last year, the Assembly defeated the Governor’s $885 million school aid cut, and dramatically increased education aid more than $1.1 billion. We will lead the fight again this year to reinvest in our schoolchildren and our future prosperity.

“With the idea of universal preschool slowly gaining more attention in the United States, one state (New York) has shown in a relatively short amount of time how to bring the public school system and providers of early-childhood education together to give more four-year olds educational opportunities.”

 Education Week
   October 25th, 2000

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