From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Catherine T. Nolan, Chair, Education Committee
|Governor’s going-away present to our children? An alarming lack of education funding.|
He once again gets an “F” when it comes to preparing our children for the high-tech, high-wage jobs of the future, with a comment on his report card reading “fails to show effort.” Again, he fails to comply with a court order requiring the state to meet its constitutional and moral obligation to provide a sound, basic education to all of our children. Incredibly, the governor has spent tens of millions of our tax dollars fighting this court order by arguing that an eighth-grade education is all our children need to succeed in today’s global economy.
These are expenses – including special education, BOCES and building aid – that school districts have already incurred. Local taxpayers will now be forced to pick up the slack. The funds the governor does include in his budget – $375 million in something he calls “Sound Basic Education Aid” – does not specify how much funding each school district will receive and it would be doled out at his sole discretion. The governor is essentially saying “trust me” to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
How the governor is gambling with our children’s education
Governor Pataki’s budget would place the financial fate of our schools on a risky bet – funding them through Video Lottery Terminals. His budget proposal also diverts critical aid from public schools by expanding charter schools. In fact, the governor’s budget would expand the number of charter schools from the current limit of 100 to 250 and fund their construction with state bonds.
Money (not) well spent
Research has shown that smaller class sizes and universal pre-K are integral to children’s educational development. However, the governor has failed to fund these critical initiatives.
The governor’s budget also fails to provide desperately needed funding for state comptroller audits even as local taxpayers continue to be rocked by financial scandals in school districts across the state. Only through better auditing can we help ensure openness, accountability and the wise use of limited resources.
The Assembly has fought - and will continue to fight - to ensure our children get a quality education
The governor likes to take credit for the school aid increases that occurred on his watch. The truth is that the Legislature fought for – and won over the governor’s objections – these crucial increases in state education aid. For 11 years now, the Legislature has repeatedly rejected the governor’s shortsighted education cuts and, as a result, our schools have received $4.85 billion more than they would have under the governor’s budgets.
The Assembly is committed to working together with the Senate and governor to craft a better, bipartisan budget that ensures our children receive a quality education without placing the burden on local taxpayers.
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