PRESS STATEMENT: Governor Cuomo’s Budget Plan Does Not Add Up to Student Success
For Immediate Release:
ALBANY (Jan. 13, 2016) — On Education, Governor Cuomo’s speech was long on rhetoric and short on solutions that will work. It will maintain the tremendous educational inequities in our schools and will leave our schools without the resources they need to restore classroom cuts Governor Cuomo made in his first term. Our students will suffer unless the Governor and the legislature gets serious about fair funding for our schools.
His school aid proposal of almost $1 billion falls almost $2 billion short of what our schools need. Once again Governor Cuomo has ignored the Campaign for Fiscal Equity and the tremendous inequities between rich and poor schools. There is almost $9,000 per student spending gap between rich and poor schools but his budget only provides $266 million of the $4.4 billion in foundation aid that is due as a result of CFE lawsuit.
The idea of converting struggling schools into community schools is a great idea, but we need to see if the reality meets the rhetoric. Last year the Governor provided $75 million for 20 of these schools, this year he only promised $100 million for 124 schools so the numbers do not quite add up.
On Pre-K the Governor’s budget makes a small but important step forward with $24 million in funding for pre-K expansion and quality. Two years ago Governor Cuomo promised to provide every four year old in New York State with high quality, full-day pre-K. But there are 115,000 four year olds with no full-day pre-K. This increase should cover about 2,000 children. We need the Governor to make much more progress on his promise to provide pre-K to four year olds in every region of the state.
Private School Tax Credit
Governor Cuomo proposes $150 million private school tax credit that has our taxpayers reimbursing billionaires for their donations to private schools. This proposal is promoted by big political donors and is more of the same pay to play culture that has Albany infamous.
Fair Taxation to Fund our Schools
Governor Cuomo missed a chance to ask Billionaires, Hedge Fund Managers and the One Percent to stand up for kids by paying their fair share in taxes. The state needs revenue to invest in our children, families and communities and truly make education the gateway out of poverty.
After pushing a test and punish agenda in every budget he has proposed, for once Governor Cuomo is not trying to expand the negative impacts of high stakes testing. However, he continues the practice of using Common Core tests to grade schools and threaten them with state takeover through receivership. Repealing receivership is an essential step in ending the test and punish culture that Governor Cuomo has established in our schools. This budget will do nothing to stop the continued growth in opt outs of state tests in New York.
The DREAM Act is extremely important and Governor Cuomo deserves credit for including it in his budget. Now we need him to use all his political muscle to make it become law.