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;
- 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
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
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.