Education Funding

N.Y. Legislature Passes Bare-Bones Budget That Incenses Educators

By Jessica L. Sandham — August 08, 2001 3 min read

Education leaders in New York state say schools and students will suffer from the legislature’s decision last week to approve a “baseline” budget that provides schools with only a minimal increase in state aid and leaves in doubt the amount of funding they will receive for the upcoming school year.

Lawmakers passed a long-overdue, $79.6 billion budget on Aug. 2—more than four months past the start of the state’s fiscal year—but say they plan to pass a separate, supplemental budget plan in the coming weeks. Senate and Assembly leaders said they decided to approve the preliminary, incomplete spending plan in an effort to break a deadlock in negotiations that has persisted since April, when the budget was officially due. Gov. George E. Pataki described the budget as woefully inadequate and possibly unconstitutional.

Speaking to reporters, the Republican governor criticized the budget as “not meeting the needs of the people, not meeting the needs of the taxpayers, not fiscally sound.” A spokesman said late last week that the governor was still weighing what actions he would take with regard to the budget.

The spending plan allocates $14.1 billion for precollegiate education, an increase of $382 million, the amount that Gov. Pataki called for in the proposed budget he unveiled in January. However, it does not provide funding for many of the governor’s other spending priorities.

Lawmakers say they hope their actions last week will bring the governor to the negotiating table. In budget proposals put forward earlier this year, Assembly leaders called for a $1.7 billion boost for schools, while their Senate counterparts pushed for a $925 million increase. Democrats hold a majority in the Assembly, but are outnumbered by Republicans in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, a Republican, called the $14.1 billion education budget a “down payment” on state aid for schools.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, meanwhile, said that “adopting this basic budget does not mean the fight to meet the needs of New Yorkers is over.”

“It does not mean we have given up our goals of providing critical, additional funding for education, for reducing class size and ensuring prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds, for increasing access to quality health care, and for creating more jobs for our working families,” said Mr. Silver, a Democrat.

Uncertainty Reigns

Local school officials say the legislature’s decision to approve an incomplete budget has created a planning nightmare. With the start of the school year just around the corner, district leaders say they can only spend money they know they have and are planning budget cuts accordingly.

New York City Schools Chancellor Harold O. Levy said he will pare funding for parent-involvement classes, after-school programs, and other extras in the 1.1 million-student district. “No one could have foreseen the magnitude of the reductions we are now expected to swallow without touching the children,” Mr. Levy said last week. “And the truth is, we can’t do it. The after-school programs are going to suffer, the kids are going to suffer.”

In the 47,000-student Buffalo school system, Superintendent Marion Cañedo said the preliminary state budget leaves the district with a $23 million hole in its $509 million budget. District officials have decided to start the school year by breaking down the budget into quarterly chunks, she said, hoping that more state funds will arrive in time to stave off the need for midyear cuts.

Even so, she said, “it’s very difficult not to have real numbers.”

“It’s a very nebulous and disastrous kind of position to be in,” Ms. Cañedo added, “when you’re talking about transportation, teachers, and health and safety for 47,000 kids.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 08, 2001 edition of Education Week as N.Y. Legislature Passes Bare-Bones Budget That Incenses Educators

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Engaging Young Students to Accelerate Math Learning
Join learning scientists and inspiring district leaders, for a timely panel discussion addressing a school district’s approach to doubling and tripling Math gains during Covid. What started as a goal to address learning gaps in
Content provided by Age of Learning & Digital Promise, Harlingen CISD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Some in Congress Fear State Budget Decisions May Undercut COVID-19 Education Relief
A dispute in Wisconsin over coronavirus relief underscores how technical issues and politics are affecting education spending decisions.
4 min read
Image shows an illustration of money providing relief against coronavirus.
DigitalVision Vectors/iStock/Getty
Education Funding There Are Big Funding Gaps Affecting High-Poverty Schools. Can Biden Close Them?
Hurdles lie ahead for a $20 billion bid to create "Title I equity grants" to address long-standing funding inequities.
9 min read
President Joe Biden talks about the May jobs report from the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Friday, June 4, 2021.
President Joe Biden made boosting Title I for disadvantaged students a key part of his education platform on the campaign trail.
Susan Walsh/AP
Education Funding Education Department Issues Directive on Shielding Students in Poverty From Funding Cuts
The agency released the "maintenance of equity" guidance on COVID-19 relief as part of a public-relations blitz on equity amid the pandemic.
5 min read
Image of a $100 dollar bill that is cut into blocks for distribution.
E+/Getty
Education Funding New COVID-19 Aid Coalition Highlights Strategies for Retaining Teachers, Digital Learning
The coalition representing school officials, teachers' unions, and others, has pledged a multiyear effort to use relief aid effectively.
2 min read
Mary Euell helps her sons, Michael Henry, left, and Mario Henry, work through math lessons remotely in their Erie, Pa., home.
Mary Euell helps her sons, Michael Henry, left, and Mario Henry, work through math lessons remotely in their Erie, Pa., home.
Christopher Millette/Erie Times-News via AP