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June 29, 2010
Fight over charter school funding freeze pushed to next year
After repeatedly lobbying the mayor to find more funding for charter schools, charter school leaders believe the battle in Albany is over for this year. The state's education spending for next year is still in limbo: Yesterday, Paterson vetoed a budget that included $419 million in education aid, and the legislature may or may not override the veto. But with no players — neither the governor nor the legislature — showing interest in unfreezing charter school funds, advocates are now setting their sights on next year. "People are already lining up for the 2012 budget," said James Merriman, head of the city's Charter School Center. One last hope for charter school supporters is that Mayor Bloomberg might himself un-do the funding freeze with city funds. Charter school leaders have been petitioning City Hall to fill in the funding freeze using city dollars. On Friday, the mayor made his first public call for equal per-pupil funding for charter schools in a letter sent to Governor David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson (printed in full below the jump). But the mayor stopped short of demanding that some of the funds be given to charter schools this year: It is in keeping with our commitment to fairness and equity that we treat all public schools, charter and non-charter, alike. Given the complexities involved, it would be unreasonable to think that all of the issues involved will be resolved in this session. What is essential is that we move forward with a commitment to end disproportionality.
February 8, 2010
Education groups giving funds but not taking sides in gov.'s race
Major state education stakeholders are funneling money to both sides in the not-yet-official-but-looking-likely gubernatorial primary contest between Governor David Paterson and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. But donors say that although their gifts coincided with increased speculation about Cuomo's entry into the governor's race, the donations are more a reflection of what they want to see happen now than a sign they're taking sides in a future race. The state teachers union, which vigorously opposed Paterson's recent attempt to raise the cap on charter schools in the state without additional restrictions, gave $8,400 to Cuomo in the middle of December. That donation followed a $10,000 gift to the attorney general last June. Union spokesman Carl Korn said that the most recent donation was an indication of support for the attorney generals' crackdown on predatory lending to students and not a forward-looking political move. Cuomo has so far kept quiet on his views on charter schools and recently refused to comment on whether he supported Paterson's push to increase the number of charters allowed under state law.
August 11, 2009
Paterson adds new twist to the Race to the Top debate
Governor David Paterson, speaking today at Harlem's P.S. 208 Governor Paterson insisted today that New York deserves a piece of the special Race to the Top stimulus fund for schools, declaring that an Obama official assured him the state will be eligible for the funds. But there was immediate confusion over the governor's explanation for why New York is eligible. Paterson said that New York's tenure law, which bans school districts from using student test scores when doling out teacher tenure, applies only to New York City. Therefore, he said, it does not violate Race to the Top's requirement that states not link student data to teachers. "That's a specific law to New York City," Paterson said, adding that the provision is "a local law that's implemented through the state." A Bloomberg administration source disputed that interpretation, saying that the tenure provision applies statewide.
April 24, 2009
That $30M relief fund to charter schools could get smaller
We reported yesterday that charter schools, which were disappointed by an unexpected freeze in their budgets for next year, are going to be getting some…
April 23, 2009
Charter schools will get $30M in one-shot plan to counter freeze
PHOTO: Alan PetersimeA Queens charter school encouraged parents and students to call Governor David Paterson and Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith after it learned charter schools could see their funding frozen. Paterson and Smith are now sending the schools $30 million. (##http://picasaweb.google.com/teach11372/RenaissanceCharterRallyAndMarchAgainstCharterCuts#5319497282636828866##Nicholas##) Governor David Paterson and Malcolm Smith, the state Senate majority leader, are back in good favor with their long-lost charter school friends. Smith has just announced a plan to counteract a budget freeze that took the schools by surprise earlier this year, by sending the schools a one-time $30 million grant. The grant is less than the $51 million that charter schools were slated to lose after legislators axed planned funding increases in their recent budget deal. And it will expire at the end of next year, leaving supporters to wage a new fight over funds then. But a source familiar with the plan who is a supporter of charter schools said that $30 million will be enough to help schools that had been imagining slashing after-school programs and turning down extra staff they'd already hired for next year. Smith announced the planned injection just now at a charter school lottery in Harlem, which Philissa is covering. The lottery is the annual event for the former City Council member Eva Moskowitz, who runs the Success Charter Network in Harlem. Harlem Success is expecting more than 5,000 parents at the lottery, which will determine which children are selected to attend the schools.
March 2, 2009
Paterson not convinced on assessing teachers via student tests
Governor David Paterson. (Via ##http://flickr.com/photos/doublespeakshow/2801607982/##Flickr Creative Commons##) An important story slipped by our watch late last week: Governor Paterson waded into the debate on how…
January 7, 2009
Gov. Paterson: In a "perilous" time, schools must improve
David Paterson, via Flickr At a time when he has proposed cutting education spending by $2.5 billion, Governor David Paterson was necessarily short on education policy proposals during his State of the State address today. The annual address, which Paterson delivered today for the first time, is typically a forum for the governor to announce new initiatives. Paterson did propose a substantial new loan program to help high school graduates afford college. But in a sign of the lean times, the other two programs Paterson singled out for attention both shift at least some of the burden of paying for educational services onto private providers. One, the early college high school model, partners colleges with public schools so students earn college credits during high school. Paterson also highlighted Say Yes to Education, a national foundation that supports low-income children throughout school and college; Say Yes currently works with several schools in Harlem and upstate in Syracuse. Paterson said the state needs schools to improve without additional resources. "The road to economic competitiveness and renewal runs right through our schools," he said. "However, during this downturn, we simply cannot spend more — so we must spend more effectively." Below the jump, Paterson's full remarks on education:
December 19, 2008
Could education fights be headed to the courts once again?
After more than 15 years arguing in courts that the city's public schools are illegally under-funded, a long lawsuit that ended in 2006 in a victory, could the financial crisis and the budget cuts it's causing pull education advocates back to court? Hard to imagine, but increasingly it does seem possible. When I talked earlier this week to the Helaine Doran, the deputy director of the group that filed the lawsuit, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, she was cautious about legal action. "We have no process of like, ‘Oh yes, we’re going back to court immediately,’” she said. “You have to look at the numbers and figure it out." But there's growing momentum suggesting court may be a possibility. Michael Rebell's editorial in the Daily News today uses stronger language.
December 18, 2008
Remainders: Here come the teacher data reports
The teacher data reports — those whose battle went all the way to Albany — are out. A new web site calls attention…
December 16, 2008
How many millions is gov. really proposing city schools lose?
Philissa wrote that we were confused earlier today when Mayor Bloomberg said that Governor Paterson is actually proposing to cut on the order of $600 million from schools in the next fiscal year. The Daily News had reported a much lower figure this morning, $206 million. What are the true facts? The above chart shows, in billions of dollars, how much funding the state has sent to New York City public schools each school year from 2006-07 to the current one, 2008-09, and how much Governor Paterson's proposed budget would have it send in 2009-2010. The big increases up until 2009-2010 were not just big but historic, reflecting the settlement of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, which led to a plan to pour billions extra dollars into the city public schools over four years. The amount Governor Paterson is proposing to send 2009-2010, $8.1 billion, cuts both off of last year's total funding (by $280 million) and off of what the city had expected to get additionally in increases (almost $300 million, according to the mayor's office).
December 16, 2008
Imagining the scale of next year's school budget cuts
The Daily News reports this morning that Governor Paterson will propose cutting $206 million from the New York City schools. Mayor Bloomberg has already guess-timated his likely cut to the schools next year at $385 million. Both numbers are moving targets, changeable if the two executives' legislative bodies push to do so. (Recall that just a few months ago, the state legislature axed a plan by Paterson to cut state funding to schools in the middle of this school year.) But let's assume that the mayor and governor do get what they're asking for. That would be a grand total of $591 million slashed from city schools budgets in the 2009-2010 school year. We can get an extremely rough estimate of what that might look like on the ground by thinking about the cuts the mayor ordered in the middle of this school year. The cut, of $181 million, happened by eliminating 475 bureaucratic jobs; delaying or cutting a half-dozen or so small centrally administered programs; and slicing 1.3% from school budgets. If we scale each of these up by a factor of 3.2 (the amount by which $591 million is larger than $181 million), we get: 1,550 jobs cut from central
December 9, 2008
Governor says he'll consider Randi Weingarten for Senate
And he says that she contacted him. The Daily News reports: Paterson said Weingarten, who recently also became president of the…
December 8, 2008
Is Randi Weingarten in the running for Hillary's Senate seat?
PHOTO: Oliver MorrisonRandi Weingarten (via Flickr) Liz Benjamin reports that teachers union president Randi Weingarten has talked with Governor Paterson about possibly taking over Hillary Clinton's senate seat: Two sources confirm that "talks" have been had by the Paterson administration and Weingarten about whether she might be interested in joining the nation's most exclusive political club. O.M.G.!! This would allow a whole new who's-the-next-Weingarten search. But Liz deflates with this statement from Weingarten: UPDATE: Weingarten forwarded over a statement saying she is "very flattered and honored" to hear her name mentioned "given how many qualified candidates are under consideration to replace our great junior senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton," and adding: "However, I have a great new job that I am very engaged in - fighting for schools, kids and working people in the middle of the worst economic downturn of our lifetime." I'm very skeptical. I just got off the phone with a union insider who would almost definitely know if this was going to happen — and hadn't heard a thing. UPDATE. Weingarten's full statement is below the jump. Suddenly I get the feeling Weingarten does not want the story to die completely.
December 4, 2008
Three pushes to green the schools. But will the DOE join?
Councilman Bill deBlasio at PS 154, which stopped using Styrofoam trays this spring. Photo from ##http://gowanuslounge.blogspot.com/2008/03/pm-update-windsor-terrace-school-tosses.html##Gowanus Lounge## First Councilman Bill deBlasio waged war…
November 25, 2008
Campaign for Fiscal Equity's advice to Paterson: raise revenues
Lots of state education funding news today. First, Governor Paterson removed his proposal to enact mid-year cuts. From a letter he sent to school leaders today: While school aid reductions remain on the table, it is unlikely the Legislature will consider them any time soon. Therefore, we would be well into the final quarter of our fiscal year and even further into the school year before any action would likely occur. So mid-year is off the table, but Paterson says that means cuts next year will have to be much worse; the state simply cannot afford to ramp up school spending as it had been doing, he wrote. The Campaign for Fiscal Equity has already pushed out a response to this letter. The group, which led the 14-year-long lawsuit asking for more funding for New York City schools, asks Paterson to find ways to raise revenues before cutting budgets. One idea is to raise income taxes on wealthy New Yorkers. The full letter is below the jump, and for a review of all planned budget cuts, see my cheat sheet here.
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