May 2006 Education
From the NYS Assembly • Sheldon Silver, Speaker
Catherine T. Nolan, Chair, Education Committee

Investing in the future

Providing the tools necessary to help children succeed

The state budget provides a sound investment in our children’s future, complete with the necessary capital to modernize school facilities and expand the number of universal pre-kindergarten classes.

“This is one of the best budgets I’ve seen. I think [the state Legislature] worked very hard and got a good result.”

– Richard P. Mills, Commissioner, State Education Department

The budget is a clear victory for New York’s school children, with a record increase of $1.36 billion in education funding over last year, including a nearly 7 percent increase in formula-based school aid. This includes $631 million more than the governor’s proposed budget.

The budget provides additional support for schools, including:

  • A $50 million increase to expand universal pre-kindergarten, which has proven to have positive, lasting results on young children’s education

  • Continuing $140 million for class size reduction grants for overcrowded schools

  • A $20.5 million increase in aid for students with limited English proficiency

“The Legislature did the right thing, working for months in public to provide all New York parents with meaningful tax relief and at the same time give school districts the state aid they desperately need.”

– Richard C. Ianuzzi, President, New York State United Teachers

It also restores the governor’s cuts to several worthwhile programs, providing increases over the governor’s budget of:

  • $148 million for special education to help children reach their full potential

  • $26.7 million for Teacher Centers and $4 million for the Teacher Mentor Intern Program to train better teachers and sharpen their skills

  • $6 million to prepare adults for the workforce through the Employment Preparation Education program

  • $69 million for cost-effective shared services through BOCES

“In building new schools and classrooms and facilities across the city where they are most needed, we are sending a powerful message of commitment to the success of every child in the public schools.”

– Joel I. Klein, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

Addressing CFE: Constructing tomorrow’s schools today

The 2006-2007 budget also addresses the Campaign for Fiscal Equity’s lawsuit, which ordered more financial support for New York City schools. The Assembly’s EXpanding our Children’s Education and Learning (EXCEL) program meets the capital requirements of the CFE decision by providing $2.6 billion for capital construction on top of building aid – meaning more funding for every school district in the state.

It also helps New York City stretch school construction money by increasing the cap for the Transitional Authority by $9.4 billion to help fund the cost of New York City’s current capital plan and secures building aid payments to the city to support the increase.

“. . .we stand together in understanding that we can’t provide pre-K education for all 4-year-olds unless we have the space, and that we can’t have effective science education without science labs. We can’t have small schools if it leads to overcrowding or small class sizes if we don’t build space for more classes.”

– Randi Weingarten, President, United Federation of Teachers

“A few thousand youngsters will have access to a good start, and there’s nothing more important than that.”

– Robert M. Bennett, Chancellor, State Board of Regents

Enhancing education with strong libraries

Recognizing that strong community libraries are essential to our children’s education, the budget provides $5.7 million to ensure library aid keeps pace with local population growth and $14 million for capital projects to modernize libraries and invest in new educational technology.

Education: A constitutional and moral obligation

“[The budget] will definitely help us to lower our tax levy.”

– Joseph Sever, Interim Superintendent, Owego-Apalachin Central School District

The governor has repeatedly failed in his 12 years in office to provide our children with a sound, basic education. He has repeatedly said that an eighth grade education is good enough for New York’s children. The Assembly Majority, however, fought for a comprehensive plan that makes the grade when it comes to our schools. By providing improved educational facilities and adequately funding programs that help achieve higher standards, the budget ensures that our children are prepared for the challenges of the 21st century economy.

“[The money to build new schools] is a great deal for this and future generations of New York City schoolchildren . . . I think we can all look forward to starting years of new school construction projects across New York City very soon.”

– Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor, New York City

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