Assemblyman Philip Ramos (D-Brentwood) today criticized the governor’s proposed cuts to education, saying it would reduce academic standards, increase class sizes and boost property taxes.
“The state must make some tough choices to solve our budget problems this year, but slashing education in our local schools by $16.6 million is absolutely the wrong choice,” Ramos said. “The governor’s budget ax strikes a serious blow to education this year that could adversely affect our children for years to come.”
The governor’s 2003-04 budget plan calls for a $16.6 million reduction in state aid to the school districts of Bay Shore, Brentwood, Central Islip and Islip. Without adequate state aid, schools will be forced to cut essential educational programs, lay off teachers and increase local school taxes.
“This cut would be devastating to our local schools,” Ramos said. “Our schools already don’t get their fair share – the governor’s budget makes it even worse.”
The governor’s plan would also cut nearly $3.4 million from the Assembly’s successful LADDER program – which is designed to reduce overcrowded classes like those in Bay Shore, Brentwood and Central Islip schools but these schools stand to lose $2 million in aid for smaller classes under the governor’s proposal.
The governor’s budget, if it became law, would also force 60,000 children out of pre-kindergarten classes in schools, including Central Islip, and hurt almost 50,000 students benefiting from smaller classes statewide.
“Early education and smaller classrooms are essential to helping our children meet higher academic standards,” Ramos said. “Children need high-tech skills and a quality education to succeed in our modern economy. Our economy will never fully recover when tomorrow’s workers are trapped in overcrowded classrooms without the resources they need.
“The governor’s budget could potentially be an enormous shift to local taxpayers. He promised his budget wouldn’t create any new ‘job-killing’ taxes, but that’s exactly what it does,” Ramos continued. “Not only will the governor’s education-killing cuts cheat our children of a quality education, they’ll slap local homeowners with higher taxes.
“To prepare students for the future and rebuild New York’s economy, we must invest in education. We must also strive to make higher education affordable and accessible for all students,” Ramos said. “I’ll work in the Assembly to see that our children’s education – at every level – isn’t compromised.”