FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, DECEMBER 16, 2008
For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs at (518) 474-1201
STATEMENT BY REGENTS CHANCELLOR BENNETT
AND EDUCATION COMMISSIONER MILLS
ON 2009-2010 EXECUTIVE BUDGET
Clearly, this is a challenging time – both in terms of the depth and the expected duration of our economic downturn. Earlier this month, the Board of Regents presented a responsible State Aid proposal that balances the needs of our children with the State’s fiscal realities. The Board’s proposal demonstrates a commitment to closing the achievement gap by providing more aid to those children in greatest need. At the same time, it recommends a $1 billion reduction in the amount previously enacted. The proposal recommends mandate relief, continued cost savings through shared services, and approaches to slow the growth of special education costs.
Today's Executive Budget proposal similarly attempts to strike a balance between the needs of our children and the State's serious fiscal constraints. However, the proposal to reduce state aid this year -- not only beyond the amount previously agreed to, but by an additional $700 million -- is disappointing.
It is encouraging that the Executive's proposal continues its long-term commitment to education funding, in particular by preserving the foundation aid formula and universal pre-K. And it is encouraging that the proposal recommends cost-savings measures and regulatory relief, similar to the Regents proposal.
Children in need are at an even greater disadvantage during an economic downturn. It is especially in such times that we must sustain our commitment to them. The State's investment in our children has yielded significant results and we simply cannot afford to lose the momentum we have gained over the past two years.
The Governor has offered a serious opening response to New York’s deep challenges. We will continue to advocate vigorously for a level of state aid that adequately addresses our children's need for a quality education.
Robert M. Bennett
Chancellor, NYS Board of Regents
Richard P. Mills
NYS Education Commissioner