First, his holding school aid hostage to passage of his education reforms:
Superintendent of Schools Paul Padalino said Gov. Andrew Cuomo is playing “a childish game” in negotiating with state lawmakers to change school district ad teacher evaluation procedures.
Padalino made the comments following Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting. He said the state’s failure to release state aid figures to school districts is making budget planning difficult.
“We’re going to do what we always do in schools, no matter what they do up there in Albany,” Padalino said. “We have 7,000 kids coming to school ... and we have a budget that we have to present to our community, and my board expects to give them some idea what we’re going to do. So we’re going to come up with a way to guesstimate reasonably close to where we’re going to be and I bet where we’ll be.”
Cuomo’s budget would provide $23.14 billion in education aid statewide, an increase of $1.06 billion, if his reforms are approved by the state Legislature. The increase would be reduced to $377 million if the governor and state legislators cannot reach an agreement.
Reforms being sought by Cuomo include changes to the teacher evaluation, tenure certification and preparation process, and giving the state more authority to rescue schools evaluated as “failing.”
However, Padalino said the tactic of negotiation between lawmakers has made budget planning for school districts even more difficult than during the years when lawmakers in Albany were routinely late adopting a state budget.
“They didn’t pass (the budget) but they still had the governor’s first runs,” he said. “So you had a ballpark of where you were going. You knew the Senate was going to tweak it, you knew the Assembly was going to tweak it a little bit ... but you weren’t too far off and you knew what the governor had in mind for individual districts. Now we don’t. We have no idea.”
The tactic by Cuomo to withhold aid information also came under fire from a school district watchdog group, Kingston Action for Education.
“His proposal has made it abundantly clear that he supports an increased emphasis on high-stakes testing and that he supports a reduction in local control of our schools,” Jolyn Safron, a spokeswoman for the group, said of the governor. “He does not support a fair and appropriate education for our students, but instead is holding school aid hostage to force the Legislature to implement his education proposals.”
Safron said local lawmakers and Cuomo’s office should be contacted by parents who want to see an end to political wrangling over education. “We request that the Kingston school board partner with Kingston parents by proposing ways that we can advocate (for) Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature to abandon this set of harmful educational proposals,” she said.
Safron added that the proposals by Cuomo will “undoubtedly intensify the teaching to the test atmosphere in the classroom.”
Then take a look at how Cuomo's treating Syracuse and other upstate cities, which he says will only get state aid if their economies improve enough to warrant state investment:
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Gov. Andrew Cuomo today said he has no plans to send millions of dollars to Syracuse or other Upstate cities to fix leaky aging water mains. Why not?
"Because you are going bankrupt," Cuomo said of Syracuse, later adding he meant that metaphorically. "You are unsustainable. You need jobs, an economy, business."
Instead, he wants Syracuse and other urban centers to come up with their own plans to fix themselves. Those plans should include job creation, strengthening regional economies and rebuilding local tax revenues.
"The upstate cities have to be stronger economically. They have to do better," Cuomo said today during an editorial board with The Post-Standard and Syracuse.com.
If the plan is good enough, if it involves private sector investment and promises new jobs, Cuomo would invest $500 million into places like Syracuse and Central New York. In turn, those areas should be able to afford mending their own problems, he said.
"Show us how you become economically stronger and create jobs," Cuomo said. "Then you fix your own pipes."
Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner tonight called the message inconsistent, especially after the governor promoted other aspects of infrastructure improvement across the state at a budget presentation at SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
"He is the governor of New York," Miner said this evening. "The infrastructure of the Tappan Zee Bridge is important. But so are the roads in Syracuse. To come Upstate and say: Find some developers, then fix your own water mains? I find a complete inconsistency in his message."
I'm not sure who Cuomo thinks he's winning over with all this tough guy stuff.
The ed reformers and hedge fundies may love his holding school aid hostage to passage of his ed reform agenda, but I guarantee you that tactic's going to backfire with parents all across the state, particularly because the education reforms he's pushing aren't popular with them to begin with.
And the treatment of Syracuse and other struggling cities, the imperious "I'm not going to give you money to fix your infrastructure because you're going bankrupt" statement - that kind of of thing has a way on backfiring of a politician too.
I'm not sure what delusion Cuomo is operating under, but he won re-election with just 53% of the vote.
He had the lowest vote totals of any governor seeking re-election in New York since FDR in 1930.
His job approval numbers in last month's Siena poll were 47%-51%.
It's true, his favorability number in that poll was 60%, but he's fooling himself if he thinks that's the power base he can use to shove through all his imperious demands.
And last point I want to make, it's amazing that a guy who refuses to let the tax assessor into his own home to assess the improvements made to it (and thus raise his own taxes) is acting as if the state money is his personal kitty.
"I'm not going to give you..."
Who does Cuomo think he is?
It's time New Yorkers take this dude down a few pegs.
We don't have a king in New York.
We have a governor who got re-elected with 53% of the vote in a low turnout election that saw him win the fewest votes since FDR in 1930.
And we have a governor with a job approval rating at 47% and a job disapproval rating at 51%
He shouldn't be allowed to govern like he's got a mandate the size of Mike Bloomberg's ego.