Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget

Last Week Governor Cuomo delivered his Executive Budget. Education highlights and excerpts are below.

Excerpts
– Consistent with the two-year appropriation enacted in 2011-12, the 2012-13 Executive Budget recommends $20.3 billion in School Aid for the 2012-13 school year, a year-to-year increase of $805 million, or 4 percent.- School districts will not be eligible for aid increases unless they have fully implemented the new teacher evaluation process by January 17, 2013.

– High need school districts will receive 76 percent of the 2012-13 allocated increase and 69 percent of total School Aid. $250 million will be used for performance grants.

– The Executive Budget recommends improving the cost-effectiveness of the State’s school transportation program by centralizing the purchase of school buses through the use of a single State contract that is developed with advice from school districts.

– Preschool special education: Apportion all growth above each county’s share of 2011-12 school year costs equally to school districts, the State, and the county.

– $7.0 million for state assessments and $0.7 million for GED testing (SED requested $10 million). During conversations today with Deputy Commissioner Slentz, SAANYS has learned that the allocation less than requested will result in the elimination of the new ELA Regents exams for grades 9 & 10. However, funding would be sufficient to implement January 2013 Regents exams and to support the administration of GED tests.

– The Executive Budget recommends several reforms to the teacher disciplinary process. These proposals include allowing the State Education Department to set reasonable limits on the costs of teacher disciplinary hearings, disqualify hearing officers who fail to comply with statutory deadlines, and change the payment structure to encourage speedier outcomes. The new payment structure would have the costs of teacher hearings shared by school districts and the employees’ bargaining unit, or the employee if not represented by a bargaining unit, so that both have a stake in the timeliness of the process.

– Provides $31.6 million in funding for arts grants administered by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

Thank you to SANNYS for some of the exerpts

“The only group without a lobbyist? The students.”

Yesterday Governor Cuomo delivered his second State of the State address. Prior to the address, there was rumor of a new governor’s commission to recommend education reform. That prediction came true and was featured in the governor’s comments regarding education, which are below. No details regarding the new commission have been released as of today. Also below are other highlights of the address that directly affect school districts and students.

“I learned my most important lesson in my first year as Governor in the area of public education … that everyone in public education has his or her own lobbyist.” He went on: “The only group without a lobbyist? The students.”

Commission to Examine Education

“Today, we are driven by the business of public education more than the achievement in public education. Maybe that’s why we spend more money than any other state but are 38th in graduation rates.

We have to change the paradigm. We need major reform in two areas:

  •  – Teacher accountability and student achievement. We need a meaningful teacher evaluation system. The legislation enacted in 2010 to qualify for

Race to the Top didn’t work.

  •  – Management efficiency. We must make our schools accountable for the results they achieve and the dollars they spend.
We cannot fail in our mission to reform public education, because we simply cannot fail our children. I will appoint a bipartisan education commission to work with the Legislature to recommend reforms in these key areas.”
 
Other Highlights
  • A call for a Tier 6 and public employee pension reform.
  • Statewide public hearings on mandate relief with a Mandate Relief Council.
  • Offer SUNY’s 60 other campuses the ability to compete for three $20 million challenge grants, with $10 million coming from the Executive and $10 from SUNY.
  • Curb child hunger by increasing participation in the food stamp program, removing barriers to participation, and eliminating the stigma associated with this program.
  • Promote employment of persons with disabilities and develop an Olmstead Implementation Plan to guide the transition of individuals from institutional to community-based care.