Archive for February, 2011

Rhetoric vs. Reality

February 26th, 2011 by Robert Lowry

The Council’s summary and analysis of the Governor’s proposed budget for education is available here.

It expands on the themes in our testimony for the legislative budget hearing – the disconnect between the Administration’s rhetoric and the reality of what school district leaders are contemplating, as they try to balance diminishing state aid and rising costs, especially for pensions and health insurance.

While the Administration contends that schools can readily absorb the proposed School Aid cuts, school leaders are considering laying off staff, closing school buildings, scaling back to half day kindergarten, and cutting arts, music, sports, and advanced classes — essentially anything not mandated.

The essential defect in the Administration’s logic is that this is not the first hard year for the state or the schools.  Nor will it be the last.

Reporting on actual local budget deliberations in school districts across the state illustrates the conflict between rhetoric and reality.

Here is a compilation of articles on local school budget decision-making.

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Cutting ALL school district central administration would not fill Cuomo’s cuts

February 9th, 2011 by Robert Lowry

Governor Cuomo faced hard choices in developing his proposed state budget.

Superintendents have been leading their communities in confronting similar painful choices for their schools over the past several years.

In many districts, they have passed up raises or made other concessions to save money for their districts and to set an example, and will again this coming year.

The Governor is attempting to put the state’s finances on a sustainable basis and we respect that.

But his attacks on superintendents are a damaging distraction from the difficult work that must be done, as one columnist has suggested.

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What is the Real Story? New York State is a High Educational Performer

February 5th, 2011 by Robert Lowry

In his speeches, Governor Andrew Cuomo has said New York is first in per pupil spending, but 34th in performance, based on the proportion of adults with a high school diploma, according to the Census.

Of course, any one measure grossly oversimplifies reality.

New York is remarkably diverse, in ways good and bad.  One recent report concluded that we have the widest disparities in spending between high and low poverty districts.

New York is also home to some of the absolute best public schools in the nation.  For example, nearly a third of the 300 national semi-finalists in the 2011 Intel Science Talent Search attend public high schools In New York State.

One of our members, Dr. Jeffrey Bowen, sent in the piece below drawing on information in Education Week’s latest annual “Quality Counts” report to make the case that New York State is a high performer in education.

Dr. Bowen is Superintendent of the Yorkshire-Pioneer Central School District, serving parts of Erie, Wyoming, Cattaraugus, and Allegany Counties. Read the rest of this entry »

Category: New York Success Stories | 1 Comment »

Cuomo news release outlines proposed budget; details to come later today

February 1st, 2011 by Robert Lowry

Blizzard notwithstanding, Governor Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to issue his 2011-12 proposed state budget at 1 pm today.

But the Governor’s office has issued a news release summarizing “highlights” of the proposal.

For education, the Governor’s budget proposes a a year-to-year reduction of $1.5 billion, or 7.3 percent.

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