The members of the Western New York Student Lobbyist Association are celebrating the adoption of the first set of reforms spearheaded by Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of his Students First initiative. The new measures include a 4% increase in the funding for School Aid. The resulting $805 million bump in the program’s budget will direct $125 million towards performance grants to schools that show an improvement in academic performance. The funding priority will go to high-need school districts in the state such as Buffalo and Rochester.
The 2012-13 budget also includes the long-promised reforms in the teacher evaluation process and will aim to decrease the cost of teacher disciplinary process. This will allow schools to act faster and cheaper to remove problem teachers from the classrooms. The budget will also pay out financial incentives to schools that adopt the speedier resolution procedures.
Carrie Remis, Executive Director of the Parent Power Project adds: “ The education reform measures adopted in this year’s budget show that Governor Cuomo is putting student interests above special interests. This is exactly the type of strategic approach we need to ensure that we are funding education based on student outcomes, not just continuing to support structures that do no work in the best interest of students.”
The Execute Director of Buffalo ReformED, who joined with WNY SLA in congratulating the Governor, said that her organization is encouraged by the Governor’s efforts to bring efficiency to the disciplinary process for teachers. She also singled out the attempts by the Gov. Cuomo to offer financial incentives for schools and teachers who boost academic performance in their classrooms.
A reformed teacher disciplinary process ensures we spend resources on students, not on bureaucracy. For too long we have failed to challenge the status quo, preserving outdated systems at the expense of our students. The education reforms included in this year’s budget are a major step forward in changing that reality.