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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.
March 23, 2010
Under plan, city schools would lose more than $400M
https://gothamschools.org/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=35165Source: NYS Division of the Budget; NYC DOE The budget plan that the Senate passed yesterday essentially preserves the $1.1 billion in cuts to school aid statewide that Governor David Paterson proposed in January. That would mean a cut of over $400 million to the New York City schools for the next fiscal year, according to the state's Division of the Budget. And that figure doesn't even include cuts from the city that are likely to soar above $300 million. Under the plan, state funding to the city schools would drop to $7.95 billion, below the level of the 2007-2008 school year, when the historic funding increases triggered by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit began. (See the chart above.) The cuts are even more challenging considering that costs beyond the city's control like teacher pensions and salaries have skyrocketed in the last several years.
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.
January 19, 2010
Arne Duncan: Paterson's budget shouldn't assume a RttT win
Gov. Paterson's proposed school budget could actually hurt the state's chance of winning federal Race to the Top funds, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested today. Duncan told reporters this afternoon that he was surprised to learn that Paterson's proposed budget appropriated $750 million in Race to the Top funds even before the competitive fund's application deadline today. "This is going to be very, very competitive, so for anyone to assume they're getting this — that's a bit of a leap of faith, I would say," Duncan said. "And obviously if this money is seen as simply something that is going to be plugging budget holes, that's not something we're going to be interested in." Duncan made the statement in a conference call where he explained President Obama's intention to open the Race to the Top competition up to local school districts, instead of just states.
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.
July 17, 2009
Bloomberg fumes as mayoral control looks dead for summer
Listen to the segment in its entirety right here: 07-17-09-worrs Michael Barbaro reports on the choice words Mayor Bloomberg had for the state…
June 30, 2009
Critics of 2002 law hopeful Senate will pass a compromise bill
As Governor Paterson and Mayor Bloomberg warn of "total chaos" and ominous "uncharted territory" if mayoral control expires tonight, another, less-frenzied possibility is emerging. The possibility hinges on the success of efforts underway right now to produce a compromise mayoral control bill in the Senate, according to a spokesman for the Campaign for Better Schools, which is pushing a compromise. A compromise would find a middle ground between the bill introduced by state Senator Frank Padavan, with the support of Mayor Bloomberg, and the one introduced by Senator John Sampson, the Democratic leader in the state Senate, who favors adding checks to the mayor's power. But it would still mean the June 30 deadline would pass without a new school governance law to replace it. That's because in order to become law, both houses of the legislature have to vote for the same bill. But a compromise bill would be different from the one the Assembly passed two weeks ago. "Our point is that schools will open up as usual tomorrow, even if mayoral control expires," said the spokesman, Shomwa Shamapande. "Let’s get the legislation right and make sure parents have a voice." Shamapande would not disclose details of the talks he said are underway, saying he does not want to jeopardize the effort. I asked him if he is confident the talks will produce a compromise. "We’re hopeful. I’m not going to go with confident," he said.
June 23, 2009
Control No. 3 on today's "basically noncontroversial" agenda
This is the memo Governor Paterson sent out listing the order of business for today's special Senate session. He's called the items "basically non-controversial." Mayoral control is No. 3, and Paterson plans to introduce a copy of the bill the Assembly passed last week — the one that Mayor Bloomberg supports, without too many "tweaks." The session starts at 3 p.m., but of course, in order to vote, the senators have to know who's in charge. And they still don't. (Postscript: Here's why people don't like the Wicks Law.) The full agenda:
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 23, 2009
How teacher layoffs would happen, if they come, which they could
A week from today, Mayor Bloomberg plans to release his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. Yesterday, though, he was in Albany to…
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…
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