Feds offer relief to schools, but Cuomo’s state aid reductions would stop increases from reaching classrooms
ALBANY, N.Y. (January 21, 2021) — In response to Governor Cuomo’s executive budget address, the public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education released the following statement:
“Governor Cuomo is calling for accountability from Washington while ignoring his own responsibility to New York’s public school students. This morning’s state budget speech did not offer any long term plan to address the growing needs of students, educators and families,” said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.
“Since March, the Governor has employed a strategy of ‘chicken’ with Washington, threatening to make rolling cuts to the budget throughout the year if Congress failed to pass another stimulus package. In the fall, that threat nearly became a reality for public schools as the Division of Budget withheld 20 percent of payments of the July and August payments to schools. Cuomo’s threats of cuts did little to compel Congress to action, but translated to very real damage in classrooms as schools already grappling with returning to school in a pandemic suddenly had to plan for a reduction in state funding.
“While Cuomo is busy apportioning blame and bemoaning the treatment of the federal government, he is ignoring the growing needs of students right here in New York. New York’s high poverty school districts, which educate the majority of Black and Latinx students in the state, are heavily reliant on state aid for school funding. When Governor Cuomo shortchanges aid to public schools, he most harms the state’s Black and Latinx students.
“Too many children still don’t have access to laptops, WiFi or the support services they require to engage in meaningful learning. Many students are desperate to get back to in person learning, but districts like Schenectady are unable to offer this option, not because of health concerns, but due to financial limitations.
“The real path to economic recovery must include a robust plan to invest in children and their education. The state should tax the ultra wealthy to close the budget gap in order to maintain state support for our schools, instead of reducing its own responsibility. The Governor needs to propose a plan that would continuously and sustainably fund our public schools in the long term.”
Detailed analysis of the executive budget proposal coming soon.