Yet, the details of that request are just as interesting. As usual, they reveal the governor’s education priorities and which initiatives may ultimately be funded. (The final budget is the product of negotiations between the governor and state legislature.) While most do not represent a major departure from last year, they could still prove important to New York City schools.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the K-12 items on Cuomo’s agenda:
Mayoral Control: The governor proposed allowing New York City’s mayor to keep control of the nation’s largest school system for three years. Cuomo made the same proposal last year, but Senate Republicans blocked the three-year extension and instead granted Mayor Bill de Blasio only one year. The stage is set for a similar fight over mayoral control this year.
Community Schools: Last year, funding for “community schools,” which provide extra services to students — such as mentoring, summer learning and healthcare — was a top item for the governor. In the end, the legislature granted $175 million to help turn needy schools into community hubs. This year, the governor proposes adding another $50 million to the community schools program. New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio has long supported community schools. There are roughly 130 community schools in New York City, more than 80 of which are part of de Blasio’s high-profile Renewal turnaround program.
Charter Schools: Cuomo’s budget sets aside a $22 million increase for charter school tuition reimbursement. While Cuomo’s proposal keeps the charter school cap at its current level, it calls for “additional flexibility.” It also increases support for charter schools moving into private space in New York City.
Inspector General: Cuomo wants an inspector general to oversee the State Education Department and investigate allegations of “corruption, fraud, criminal activity or abuse.” While education department officials have said little about the proposal, they noted the department already has significant oversight.
“While we look forward to reviewing the proposal, currently there are already four government agencies with independent oversight over the State Education Department’s operations,” said department spokeswoman Emily DeSantis.
Everything else: The budget sets aside funding for many of the initiatives that Cuomo has already announced, including additional after-school seats, Early College High Schools, and fee waivers for low-income students taking Advanced Placement exams. You can read more about his proposals here.
Correction: This story incorrectly stated that charter schools will receive a $22 million increase in funding under the governor’s proposal. In fact, the $22 million is for charter tuition reimbursement. It also misstated that the city’s charter cap will remain the same. The cap is not specific to the city.