After Cuomo Speech, Advocates Push for More Money

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Reactions to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State Address are coming in, and it appears that the Governor has more enemies than friends — and that everyone is crying out for more money.

Earlier this week, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, chairwoman of the Education Committee and Sen. Kevin Parker sent a letter to Cuomo asking him to boost school funding by $2.2 billion in an effort to make up for past year cuts.  In addition, Nolan and Parker expressed their support of the Board of Regents $250 million recommendation to offer a full-day pre-K program throughout the state.

Advocacy groups in the state are asking for increased funding to reduce inequity present among school districts, writes Michael Goot for The Post Star.

The letter also discusses the trial that is set to begin the same day as the governor’s speech, brought by eight school districts that believe the state is in violation of its constitutional obligation to offer all children in the state a sound, basic education through underfunding of schools.

Education advocates across the state are placing additional pressure on the governor to increase school aid by at least $2 billion.  The New York State United Teachers invested $1 million into an ad campaign calling for him to “fairly fund schools.”

StudentsFirstNY, a group who supports school choice and removing ineffective teachers from the classroom, is currently airing a commercial in support of school reform making use of previous State of the State addresses by the governor that asks for a change to the status quo.

A statement was released by State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos asking for an Education Investment Tax Credit in this year’s budget proposal that would strengthen parochial schools to “send a strong signal that in New York every student deserves access to a first-class education and the limitless opportunities that come with it.”

“And rather than being forced to simply lower their expectations, parents whose children are trapped in failing schools should have real options when it comes to furthering their child’s education and securing their future,” Skelos went on to say in a news release.

New York City is becoming home to an increasing number of religious schools which have been typically been pushed aside during budgeting.  However, Skelos argues that the students of those schools deserve an equal chance for a quality education, writes Suzanne Vega for JP Updates.

The State Senate, over which Republicans gained a one-seat majority in November, passed their version of the tax credit bill this week, reports the New York Observer. The bill will now go to the Democrat-controlled Assembly, where it will be hotly debated.