Nolan Ensures State Budget Comes Through For All New York Students

April 1, 2007

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Queens), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Education, announced today that the final state budget makes an historic investment in New York’s education system, providing an unprecedented $1.7 billion increase to help students succeed in an ever-changing global economy.

“The Assembly has long championed an educational approach that stresses three Rs – Reform + Resources = Results, and this year’s budget is certainly the right equation for our children,” Assemblywoman Nolan said.

A historic investment in our schools

Under the largest education investment in New York State history, New York City will receive $7,516,726,801.

“The final state budget continues our effort in the Assembly to help provide every single one of our children with not just a sound, basic education – but a first-class, quality education that will help them be successful in life,” Assemblywoman Nolan said.

Included in the budget is the governor’s new foundation education formula for predictable, stable and transparent funding – something the Assembly has insisted on for over a decade, according to Assemblywoman Nolan.

Reducing class sizes

The budget requires New York City to prepare a Contract for Excellence that must include, among other initiatives, a plan to reduce average class sizes within five years in the specified grade ranges and class size reduction for low performing and overcrowded schools.

“Comparing the average class size in New York City to the rest of the state reveals an overwhelming disparity – a disparity we must end,” Assemblywoman Nolan said. “The spending plan steers state aid coming to the city to comply with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity ruling toward this important goal.”

Assemblywoman Nolan said no matter how experienced and dedicated the teacher, when there are too many children in a classroom, it’s inevitable that some children will slip through the cracks.

“This is something that we can prevent,” Assemblywoman Nolan said. “All the research indicates that smaller classes improve student performance, and the bipartisan budget addresses this issue.”

Expanding early education

The budget provides $43.4 million more to advance the Assembly’s plan to provide statewide universal pre-K and ensure that every 4-year-old in the state has the opportunity to get a head start on school. New York City will receive $249,078,274 for pre-K.

“This expansion will allow more New York children to reap the lasting benefits of attending pre-K, which studies show again and again give our children an advantage in student achievement, college enrollment and future earnings,” Assemblywoman Nolan said.

Charter schools

The state budget authorizes 100 more charter schools while instituting reforms to ease the financial impact on local school districts, increase accountability, and ensure communities have a voice in where they are located.

“Some communities welcome charter schools as an innovative way to improve educational opportunities for their children,” Assemblywoman Nolan said. “This budget plan will help ensure charter schools open in communities where they make sense, while protecting the students who attend our traditional public schools.”

Raising standards in our schools

The Assembly supported the governor’s Contract for Excellence between the state and school districts receiving significant funding, and with schools requiring academic progress, as determined by existing benchmarks, to use proven strategies to improve the standards and success of our schools.

“As Chairwoman of the Assembly Education Committee, I know the Assembly worked hard to come together with the governor and Senate to pass a state budget that makes a historic investment in New York State’s educational system,” Assemblywoman Nolan said. “This support will undoubtedly better prepare our children for higher education and to compete in a changing world.”