Governor’s Budget Threatens Progress of Staten Island Schools

February 13, 2003

Staten Island students are making record gains in academic achievement, earning their schools high praise and statewide recognition. Unfortunately, the governor’s budget – with over $462 million in proposed cuts to NYC schools – now threatens this momentum of success.

We have a lot to be proud of in our students and teachers. Ten Staten Island public elementary schools recently made the state chancellor and education commissioner’s Most Improved list for English and math – meaning a 20 percent increase from 1999 in the number of students scoring in the “proficient” and “advanced” range for these fundamental subjects.

The Island schools cited were: PS 5, Huguenot; PS 13, Rosebank; PS 26, Travis; PS 29 Castleton Corners; PS 30, Westerleigh; PS 42, Eltingville; PS 48, Concord; PS 53, Bay Terrace and PS 56, Rossville for English, and PS 55, Eltingville for both math and English.

In addition to slashing state education aid the governor wants to completely eliminate successful pre-kindergarten programs – a move that would deny 1,357 Staten Island youngsters an invaluable opportunity to get an early start on their schooling. An early education put our children on the path to success, and it reflects in our schools’ recent accomplishments.

It’s wrong to reward hard-working students with funding cuts. It’s wrong to deny so many a head start on academic achievement. The quick-fix budget cuts the governor proposes place the burden of eight years of unsound fiscal policies squarely on the backs of New York’s students and working families.

Now is not the time to abandon all the progress we’ve made. I will work hard in the Assembly to ensure the promise of the future is not compromised by “Education-Killing” cuts that jeopardize the success of our children and our state.