Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cuomo Will Hold School Aid Hostage To Passage Of His Education Reform Agenda

Just in case you think Cuomo won't get most of what he proposed on education policy today, see this:

This could be another indication that the Cuomo Administration is playing hardball or it could be in keeping with Wednesday’s unusual combination of holding the State of the State speech and budget presentation on the same day, but for the first time in recent memory, the Budget Division hasn’t put out school runs.

School runs are those lengthy listings of how much additional money each of the state’s nearly 700 school districts would get under the governor’s budget proposal.

They have been something of a tradition in local papers which for years and within hours of the budget presentation would dutifully put the estimates in charts in their papers, or more recently, in their on-line editions.

The runs outline various categories of school spending ranging from building aid to extra help for academics to transportation aid and even BOCES-related costs.

But this year, in a press briefing after State of the State, outgoing Budget Director Bob Megna, who is heading to the Thruway Authority, said there are no school runs and won’t be until the Legislature passes Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education reform agenda which includes increasing from three to five years the time needed for tenure, allowing more charter schools and making state test results the basis for 50 percent of teacher evaluations.

These ideas have been rebuffed in one way or another by lawmakers, especially Democrats and the governor realizes he’ll have a battle ahead of him in getting them passed. Thus Cuomo’s stance that, before he releases a $1.1 billion school aid increase, he wants the reforms.

“The more important thing right now is getting the reforms done,” Megna told reporters at the budget briefing, which took place outside of The Egg’s Hart theater upstairs from the convention hall where Cuomo spoke.

“There’s no need to have school aid runs until we have an agreement,” he added.

Have seen a few optimists out there saying Cuomo won't get most of his reforms.

Hope they're right and I'm wrong.

But as I wrote earlier, Speaker Silver is already indicating the APPR and tenure reforms are negotiable and Cuomo is making clear, no money for schools unless he gets his reforms in the budget deal.

Obviously he'll have to fund schools eventually, but not providing the school runs is clearly an indication that school aid will be held hostage to his reforms.


  1. The state is in surplus. There was always going to be "more money" for schools. He put his finger in the air and decided the number would be $1.1 billion more this year, which is about 1/8 the amount required, adjusted for inflation, by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court case, and the extra money is tied to the changes in teacher evaluation, tenure and charter cap. I seriously doubt that one or one hundred thousand Tweets had anything to do with it. If anything, he leaked the proposal to NYSUT/UFT and our leaders had a week or two to get their "strategy" aligned with his in something that seemed less like capitulation and more like "principle."

    I'm glad that our union is fighting for the kids by advocating for more school funding but that doesn't preclude also fighting on behalf of its own members. Shameful that Randi should call our working conditions a "smokescreen" as in "“There are smokescreen issues and there are real issues. And the real issue is that ... the gap is huge between rich and poor districts. So funding is absolutely essential in order to help all kids get the services and education they deserve.”

    When you have no power but want people to keep using the word "powerful" in front of the noun you go by, as in "powerful teacher's union," you only pick fights you can win even if that means you forfeit the right to the noun you go by, "teacher's union."

  2. These Race to The Top "carrot and stick" policies just keep recurring and recurring.

    Pathetic policies. Pathetic politicians. Pathetic union leadership.