Statement of NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on the State Budget Agreement
FOR RELEASE: March 31, 2014
CONTACT: Al Marlin
(518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell
On Twitter: @nyschoolboards
The state’s 2014-15 budget represents a positive step forward for school districts. The $1.1 billion increase in state aid will help preserve educational opportunities for students
We appreciate the upward trend in funding. This marks the third consecutive increase in education funding in the state budget.
That said, school district needs remain high. To put things into perspective, even after a $602 million restoration, the GEA is still withholding some $1 billion in state support for public schools. Rather than subsidize state rebate checks, the $344 million earmarked next year for the “tax freeze” would have been better spent by providing increased support to schools.
Moreover, schools have already wrung substantial savings from their budgets. They are sharing business administrators, drama departments, food service directors, pre-K programs, summer school programs, fuel services, even superintendents. They have joined consortiums to save money on health insurance, energy, equipment and supplies. Further cuts will only dig deeper into the bone.
Universal pre-K is a laudable goal and NYSBBA supports a plan to get there. We understand the implementation urgency in New York City. Unfortunately, the $40 million allocation for the rest of the state will not allow schools either to provide pre-K to all students or maintain other programs.
Lawmakers enacted prudent reforms to Common Core, providing assurances that students will not be penalized as schools implement the new standards. Most importantly, they kept the teacher and principal evaluation system intact. School districts negotiated these plans in good faith. State-imposed changes in the midst of their implementation would have threatened the integrity of the entire evaluation system.
In the remaining months of session, we look forward to working with lawmakers to enact mandate relief to help schools operate more efficiently and keep property taxes in check – without harming educational programs.
About NYSSBA: The New York State School Boards Association represents more than 650 school boards and more than 5,000 school board members in New York. NYSSBA provides advocacy, training, and information to school boards in support of their mission to govern the state's public schools.