Assembly’s Education Budget Invests Billions More Than Governor’s Proposal

Provides necessary resources for smaller class sizes, universal pre-K
March 13, 2006

Assemblymen Michael Cusick (D- Mid Island) and John W. Lavelle (D-North Shore) announced that the Assembly has unveiled its 2006-2007 education budget. Unlike the governor’s proposal, this plan provides the resources needed to give New York City’s schoolchildren a quality education.

New York City schools will receive $654 million more than last year, and $288 million on top of what the governor had planned to give. And by providing necessary capital to modernize school facilities in New York City, the Assembly’s budget works to enhance the proven-successful universal pre-K program, create smaller class sizes, and most importantly, places teaching our children at the highest priority.

“We have a moral and constitutional obligation to provide our children with a sound, basic education– something the governor and Senate have failed to do,” Lavelle said. “For too long, they have resisted the Campaign for Fiscal Equity’s 12 year-old lawsuit, which resulted in the Court of Appeals ordering more financial support for New York City schools.”

The Assembly’s budget invests $846.5 million in new funding to help satisfy the requirements of the ruling, more than half of which will go to New York City schools, including

  • an initial down payment of $200.5 million in Foundation Operating Aid;
  • an increase of $50 million for universal pre-kindergarten programs,
  • an additional $13.4 million to aid students with limited English proficiency; and,
  • $225.8 million in Sound Basic Education Aid.

The proposed Foundation Operating Aid formula would provide an increase of $6.8 billion in state funding to be phased in over the next six years. This formula estimates the cost of providing a sound basic education and adjusts for factors such as student need and regional cost. In all, New York City would receive 62 percent of this new funding, or $4.2 billion in additional school aid during this time period.

“Staten Island schoolchildren can not afford another year to pass by without CFE being addressed- the stakes are simply too high,” said Cusick. “The governor may be content to leave office without taking action, but the Assembly is committed towards providing New York City its fair share in school aid this year.”

To further meet the needs of our students, the Assembly’s budget includes a capital program, EXpanding our Children’s Education and Learning (EXCEL), which provides $2.6 billion on top of building aid. Of the capital program, $1.8 billion goes to New York City to modernize our schools.

The Assembly has consistently pushed for a comprehensive plan to address the court’s decision. Previously, the Assembly passed a plan that would have delivered billions more in operating aid for the city.

“We have repeatedly urged the governor to drop his opposition to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity ruling and properly fund our schools,” Lavelle said. “Up until recently, Mayor Bloomberg has remained on the sidelines. While we welcome the mayor in echoing the Assembly’s commitment to our children, I cannot understand why he waited so long to join the fight. Even to this day, he has not publicly joined us in calling on the governor to drop his appeal of the lawsuit.”