Statement from NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer on Senate, Assembly Budget Proposals
FOR RELEASE: March 17, 2014
CONTACT: Al Marlin
(518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933 cell
On Twitter: @nyschoolboards
The Assembly and Senate budget proposals each contain positive aspects for schools and represent a good starting point in negotiations.
School board members’ top goals right now are developing budgets for next year, keeping property tax increases to a minimum, and providing a high quality education.
To help them realize these goals, the most important deliverable in the state budget is adequate state aid.
Toward that end, both houses promise to phase out the Gap Elimination Adjustment, but not as quickly as school boards would prefer. Nevertheless, both houses propose some form of flexibility in the use of state aid, which is high on the school board priority list.
The Assembly proposal commits to providing schools with $1 billion annually in state aid increases over four years, rejects the property tax freeze and provides relief to school districts grappling with oversaturation of charter schools. Those are all positive steps toward ensuring that schools have adequate financial resources to provide quality educational programs.
The Senate takes proactive steps to help schools operate more efficiently by providing mandate relief and allowing school districts to create regional high schools. The Senate also repeals the recalculation of building aid, ensuring that schools receive their promised allotment of building aid.
One issue not addressed by either house is funds earmarked for Common Core implementation, including professional development. We also have serious concerns about proposed funding for charter schools and tuition tax credits – especially at a time when public school districts are cutting educational programs.
Finally, while universal pre-K is a great investment, we must ensure that schools can first meet K-12 needs.
We hope state lawmakers mesh the best components of both proposals as they craft an on-time budget and cement their role as partners with schools in helping our students become college and career ready.
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.