From the NYS Assembly ē Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Steven Sanders, Chair, Education Committee
Every year the governor plays the same game: proposing a budget that shortchanges our schools, and then taking credit for the Assemblyís hard-fought restorations.
This year is no different. In fact, he had the gall to claim "no governor Ö is more committed or has a better record in providing resources for education than I do." As usual, the governorís rhetoric doesnít match the reality of his policies.
Since the governor took office in 1995, the Assembly has fought for an additional $2.8 billion that the governor tried to deny our schools. Not surprisingly, this yearís proposal represents his lowest level of school support since he first took office. In fact, if the governorís budget were enacted, the stateís share of education funding would plummet from 42 percent to 37.7 percent. Consequently, the average statewide school property tax would have to increase by nearly 20 percent for schools to maintain their current levels of service.
The governorís record on education speaks much louder than his rhetoric.
Source: NYS Assembly Ways and Means Committee
After eight years of trying to shortchange our schools, this year the governor is mounting an all out assault. In fact, his budget slashes education funding by an astronomical $1.4 billion. Since 1998, the Assemblyís early education program has helped schools reduce class sizes, improve teacher training, establish universal pre-kindergarten, provide full-day kindergarten and after school programs, and modernize computer technology.
According to a recent report from New York State United Teachers Ė some 20,000 educators are expected to lose their jobs as districts struggle to weather the governorís budget storm. This means there will be even fewer teachers to instruct our already over-crowded classrooms. Teachers are the catalyst helping to shape our childrenís successes not just in academics Ė but far, far beyond. Now that so many schools are reaching higher standards, the last thing our children need is to have their growth stunted by the governorís budget games.
Itís clear the governor hasnít learned from his past Ė and now heís determined to repeat it. As weíve done the last eight years, the Assembly will fight the governorís assault on our schools and ensure they have the resources they need to prepare our students for an increasingly competitive global economy. The Assembly is committed to crafting a budget thatís right for New York Ė one that provides our children with the education they need to reach their full potential.
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