State Sen. Dave Valesky is optimistic that negotiators will come through with significant increases in public school spending when the state budget plan is finalized.
The Oneida Democrat notes the both the Senate and the Assembly budgets include almost $2 billion increases in public education spending over last year.
But, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he won’t approve big spending increases for education unless lawmakers agree to his package of controversial education reforms. Valesky says lawmakers don’t want the two dependent upon each other.
"In the Senate resolution, we feel very strongly that the non-fiscal components of the education budget be removed from the budget,” said Valesky. “I believe the Assembly does as well. These are entirely separate issues.”
Valesky says the education reform proposals, which include tougher teacher evaluation rules and changes in tenure, could be handled after the budget is approved, which is supposed to happen by April 1.
“It is paramount that we complete work on a fifth consecutive on-time budget; a spending plan by the state that delivers adequate resources to school districts. Some of these other issues are highly controversial, certainly deserve attention, but we are concerned about the linkage between those non-funding issues and the budget itself.”
Valesky made the comments today after touring the Seymour Elementary in the Syracuse City School District.