Assemblyman William Colton (D-47 AD), at the Ways and Means Committee Hearing Monday, (Feb. 6, 2006) in Albany, was the most vociferous member of the Panel questioning Chancellor Joe Klein on the education needs of the city.
Assemblyman Colton questioned the Chancellor on the 37 ½ minute longer day that students in need are now getting. The Chancellor responded that had he had the funding, he would have extended the day for all students, but the Budget restraints made that impossible. He was doing the best he could in a "bad situation.”
The Assemblyman brought out the need for the K-8 school that was to be constructed on the old Mogen David site on Ave. P and Stillwell Avenue; presently put on hold because of lack of funding. Colton told the Chancellor that he brought out that problem two weeks ago at the Committees meeting with Mayor Bloomberg, who acknowledged the need for the new school, as well as the desperate need for the court ordered funding that the Governor is appealing in the courts.
The Chancellor replied also on the tremendous impact that the withheld funding has caused on the 5 year Capitol Plan. New York City doesn't receive its fair share of the funding from the taxes it sends to Albany, which has created great gaps in education and school construction.
Assemblyman Colton praised the Chancellor, as well as the Mayor for their candor in telling the Ways and Means committee how detrimental it is to New York City students and the New York school system. This inequitable funding situation can immediately be solved if the Governor withdraws his appeal.
Assemblyman Colton states that it is unconscionable that the Governor is blatantly stalling NYC school funding while at the same time promoting a Star Plus program. A program, which benefits his constituencies throughout the state with a 540 million dollar tax cut, while NYC residents do not receive a single penny.
The Bensonhurst/Gravesend Legislator, a former New York City teacher himself, has always championed Education for New York City Students during his ten year tenure in the legislature and kept close ties with the parents, teachers and schools. Colton has been especially outraged at the deliberate lack of education funding for New York City schools and has spoken out many times against Governor Pataki's refusal to abide by the Courts decision on the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) suit. A decision ordered NY State to pay the billions of dollars that it has unfairly withheld from the children and School system of NYC.
Assemblyman Colton recently said, "Presently the Governor is withholding desperately needed funds for our children. Hopefully he will see how his political ambitions are adversely affecting our children's education and drop his CFE Lawsuit Appeal. He must begin implementation of the court order to properly fund the schools of New York City.”
Colton will soon contact the Presidents' Council and Community Education Councils throughout the City to urge parents of students in NYC to send a letter to Governor Pataki explaining to him the lessons of Ebenezer Scrooge. "It is time we took off our gloves and demand action. Governor Pataki, through his Court Appeal, has denied our children their right to a quality education."
Assemblyman Colton is determined to mobilize the parents throughout the city in a campaign to teach the Governor the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. This is a sample of the letter to the governor:
Dear Governor Pataki,
I have been reminded recently of the story of Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge cared only for himself and was miserly towards the needs of others, no matter how important they might be. I am writing because I fear that you are following a similar path in withholding funds from the New York City School system and shortchanging our children and the future of this state. In the story, Scrooge eventually realizes the importance of helping others and drops his miserly ways. It is a lesson we could all learn from. Please drop your appeal of the court order in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit and implement the funding that the children of New York City deserve. We have been shortchanged for too long.
Name and address
Assemblyman Colton urges every parent in the city to send a letter to:
New York State Governor
Albany, NY 12224
Assemblyman Colton has fill-in letters available in his 211 Kings Highway Community Office, Brooklyn, NY 11223 or call Jeanette Givant at 718 236-1598,