Mon, Jan 21, 2008
Gov. Spitzer Scales Back on School Cash
By Erin Einhorn, NY Daily News
Gov. Spitzer is scaling back on his bold promise to flood city schools with badly needed cash.
How much less is unclear, but advocates estimate it's $100 million shy of what Spitzer promised with fanfare a year ago -money that might have been used to hire more than 1,000 teachers.
Spitzer is not seeking to cut school funds. His proposed $21billion education budget would represent a record $1.4 billion increase over this year, state Budget Director Laura Anglin said. Of this, New York City would get $8.2 billion compared with $7.6 billion this fiscal year.
The gap, which Spitzer says he'll remedy in future years, is a result of an ongoing state deficit and complications related to the formula used to divvy up dollars.
"We understand that there is an economic downturn," Palast said. "But the kids of New York State have waited 14 years. ... They should be immunized from shifts in the economy."
If the formula had been applied, New York would have gotten an increase of only $225 million - instead of an expected $530 million boost.
Spitzer tweaked the formula to bump that number up to $335million. He also has made an additional $180 million available in grants, Anglin said. But those grants are actually part of a fund used to reimburse the city for school construction projects.
The governor will ask the Legislature to essentially freeze construction reimbursements for 18 months so that the money can be used for school expenses next year - and the construction dollars will be reimbursed a year later.
Legislators asked about the schools budget yesterday said it would be scrutinized.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said the Assembly has a "commitment to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. ... We will try to keep everything we promised."
Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the stateâ€™s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >