ALBANY, N.Y. (March 14, 2023) — The public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education released the following reaction to the New York State State Senate and Assembly 2023-24 budget proposals:
K-12 public education funding & Foundation Aid
“The State Senate and Assembly proposals bring us one step closer to actualizing the promise of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. New York State is on track to fully fund 100 percent of Foundation Aid for the first time since its creation. The promised 3 year phase-in will be delivered in the enacted budget when it is finalized in a few week’s time. We are overjoyed to finally see our schools on track to receive the funding that will ensure Black, brown and low income students have long needed and deserved,” said Executive Director Jasmine Gripper.
“Listening to the demands of parents, both houses rejected the Governor’s massive proposal to expand charter schools in New York City. This move will help to ensure that New York City’s Foundation Aid increase goes to the majority of students who choose to attend public schools. We applaud the Senate and Assembly for recognizing that the Governor’s proposal to expand charters is both unnecessary and would negatively impact public schools. By rejecting Governor Hochul’s proposal to lift the regional cap on charter schools and reauthorize the “zombie charters,” schools that failed and closed, New York City Department of Education will not be forced to spend an additional $1 billion on charter schools. With the decline in the population of school age children leading to shrinking enrollment in both New York City’s public and charter schools, there is no justification for increasing the number of charter schools in New York City.
“We urge Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to make certain that the Governor’s proposal to lift the charter cap and reauthorize failed “zombie charters,” stays out of the enacted budget so that the majority of the Foundation Aid increase goes to the majority of students, as is intended.
“We’re encouraged to see both houses of the legislature allocating funding for a review of the Foundation Aid formula and the pre-K program, as well as the Senate’s proposal to review the New York City governance model also known as mayoral control. These studies will put New York on a path to improving equity in education going forward.
“We applaud the Senate and Assembly for increasing funding for the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program and continuing the path to statewide universal Pre-K. This includes increasing rates for school districts that were early adopters of Pre-k and have been locked in at lower rates.
“The two houses’ proposals on child care are vastly different. We applaud the Senate for being attuned to the needs of the child care educators and providing an additional $500 million on top of the executive budget proposal to the workforce retention fund, bringing the total investment in the workforce to $889 million. The Senate’s proposal attempts to provide direct financial assistance for our essential, yet severely underpaid child care educators.
“The Senate proposal also includes an increase of $629 million to allow families with higher incomes to be eligible for child care assistance.
“It is disappointing and discouraging, however, that the Governor and Assembly have called child care educators essential, yet failed to increase compensation for the people who care for our babies, toddlers and young children. Ignoring the needs of the child care workforce is shortsighted, and sentences the largely Black and Brown, mostly women workforce to poverty wages. Without investing in improving compensation for the child care workforce, we will not be able to expand access for families. Under the Executive and Assembly proposal, the newly eligible families will continue to struggle to find a child care program for their children.
“The enacted budget should follow the lead of Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and the Senate to provide every child care worker with direct aid of $12,000 immediately. We also urge all three branches to make all immigrant families eligible for child care assistance in the enacted budget.
“We applaud the Senate for rejecting the Governor’s proposal and protecting casino license and revenue being earmarked for education. We understand the need to raise revenue to support the MTA and other strategic areas. We urge the legislators to hold the line on proposals to expand the personal income tax and corporate tax that target the ultra wealthy so we can make investments in our communities without taxing over burdened working families.
“As New York’s leaders work towards a final budget deal they must continue to prioritize the needs of our children and families. Our budgets are moral documents that exemplify our values. We must value our children, educators and families by making strategic investments in public education and child care.”