Assemblyman Perry (D-Kings County 58th AD) announced that he helped pass a 2014-15 state budget that allocates more than $8.6 billion to New York City schools, an increase of over $435 million more than last year and more than $203.2 million over the executive budget proposal. The budget also dedicates $300 million per year for two years for Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) in New York City (A.8556-D).
The future success of our children is dependent on how we prepare them for it today, said Assemblyman Perry. Every child deserves to have a first-class education. This years state budget makes a significant investment in education to ensure every child has the opportunity to succeed.
The final state budget includes these statewide programs:
- $20 million to establish a Teacher Excellence Fund, which will reward excellent teachers and recruit the most effective educators;
- $16 million in additional support for Non-Public Mandated Services, CAP;
- $14 million in restored support for Teacher Resource Centers; and
- an additional $5 million in support for libraries.
Building smarter schools
The final state budget also includes a Smart Schools initiative, a $2 billion bond act that voters will consider that will provide new educational technologies to schools across the state. Eligible projects include infrastructure improvements that bring high-speed Internet to schools as well as the purchase of new technologies for student use that will strengthen classroom instruction.
Additionally, Smart Schools enables long-term projects that improve full-day pre-kindergarten by constructing new pre-K classroom space, replacing classroom trailers with permanent classroom space and investing in high-tech school safety measures.
The Smart Schools initiative is an important step that will allow us to make meaningful, lasting investments in our schools and improve student instruction by introducing new technologies into the classroom, Assemblyman Perry said.
Reforming Common Core
The 2014-15 state budget also helps fix the flawed implementation of Common Core, protects students from unfair consequences based on test results and ensures the security of sensitive student data. The Common Core reforms enacted in the state budget include:
- banning standardized tests for students in grades K-2;
- prohibiting Common Core test scores from solely or primarily determining grade promotion;
- delaying the use of test results from becoming part of the permanent record for students in grades 3-8;
- making changes to assessments for students with disabilities and English language learners pursuant to a federal waiver submitted by the State Education Department (SED);
- significantly limiting the amount of classroom time used for test preparation and assessments;
- directing SED to provide tools, resources and materials to assist teachers in professional development related to the new standards;
- placing restrictions on the sharing of student data and requiring SED to appoint a chief privacy officer who will serve a three-year term;
- requiring the student privacy officer to set guidelines for sharing student data and develop policies to deal with any data breaches;
- requiring third-party vendors to notify the school or SED of any data breaches and establishing penalties for failing to do so;
- creating a Parents Bill of Rights that places limitations on sharing student data with third-party vendors;
- providing for the elimination of inBloom and requiring SED to request that all student information already provided to inBloom be deleted; and
- allowing schools to opt out of sharing private student information with similar entities and certain privately run data dashboards.
While the intent behind Common Core is better educating our children, there is no question that the rollout of the new standards has been seriously flawed, Assemblyman Perry said. While we continue to work on addressing each of the areas of concern, the state budget takes immediate action that will reduce stress and anxiety for students, eliminate unnecessary testing and protect student privacy. With testing beginning as soon as this week, its critical that we address these problems now.
Charter school education
The 2014-15 state budget addresses charter schools by providing state support for tuition in certain circumstances. The state budget also addresses co-location issues and makes charter schools eligible to receive pre-K funding.
Other education aid
The budget also provides a $16 million increase for nonpublic school aid related to the Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP) program, for a total of $158.8 million. The Legislature also continues $4.5 million for safety equipment and allows nonpublic schools to be considered for full-day Universal Pre-K funding. In addition, technology equipment under the $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act can be loaned to students attending nonpublic schools.