Ramos: Legislature Delivers Record School Aid in Response to Shortchanging by the Governor

April 7, 2006

The Legislature’s Budget Agreement provides record school aid increases for Suffolk County schools. Unlike the governor’s proposal, this bipartisan plan provides students with the tools necessary to excel and succeed with aid to programs like Universal Pre-K and state dollars to modernize school facilities.

Most importantly, the Legislature’s plan includes a substantial increase to Suffolk County schools –almost $80 million more than last year and $46.5 million more than the governor had proposed. Highlighting schools in the 6th AD, aid was distributed as follows:

  • Bay Shore – $1.7 million more than last year, a 7 percent increase
  • Brentwood – $11.6 million more than last year, a 8.5 percent increase
  • Central Islip – $5.3 million more than last year, an 11 percent increase
  • Islip – $552,000 more than last year, a 4.3 percent increase

To further meet the needs of our students, the Legislature’s budget includes a capital program, EXpanding our Children’s Education and Learning (EXCEL), that provides $2.6 billion in capital funding in addition to building aid. This includes $4.8 million for Central Islip and $13.8 million for Brentwood. Local school districts are also eligible to receive grants to enhance learning at an early age through the Universal Pre-K programs. Brentwood is eligible for $1.8 million, while Bay Shore and Central Islip would receive $170,000 and $320,000, respectively.

Strong community libraries are essential to our children’s education. By providing the research and resource materials to enhance what students learn in the classroom, libraries must be updated to meet our children’s needs.

The Legislative budget provides:

  • $5.7 million to ensure library aid keeps up with local population growth and other rising costs
  • $14 million for capital projects to help local libraries modernize their facilities and invest in new educational technology
  • Suffolk County will receive over $4 million for the public library system in this year’s budget

To make sure tax dollars make it to the classroom – and not the pockets of unscrupulous school administrators – the budget doubles the amount of money used to audit school systems, providing an extra $2.8 million over last year to root out fraud and corruption.

This Legislative budget agreement delivers when it comes to funding our children’s education. It provides the resources our schools need to achieve higher education standards and provide for New York’s students. I urge the governor to join the Legislature so we can ensure that our children will be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.