The Board of Regents on Monday backed a $2 billion increase in foundation for schools in New York, a move that is expected, but nevertheless unlikely given a yawning budget gap facing down state lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“The Board of Regents and I continue to make it our mission to ensure equity and excellence in education for all children, and our priorities and proposals build upon this work to further these critical efforts,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa said.
“These funds would provide school districts with the resources they need while laying the foundation to best support our youngest children, bolstering educator diversity and recruitment and providing tools to make sure that our schools are positive and culturally-responsive learning environments.”
The $2 billion figure is a long-sought goal for education advocates and the New York State United Teachers union, which praised the budget proposal made by the regents, the chief policy-making body of the State Education Department.
“Our students don’t get a do-over because of inequitable state funding for education,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said. “Across the state, we’re seeing the very real impacts that chronic underfunding has on our schools. Today’s proposal from the Regents not only recognizes what needs to change, it also represents a positive step toward a solution.”
Achieving that spending target is difficult, however, given the gap facing the state budget, due to be completed by March 31, the end of the fiscal year.
State lawmakers have not embraced broad-based tax increases, though Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has said he supports raising revenues, which could be done a variety of ways.
Heastie’s Democratic conference in prior years has supported budget resolution seeking tax rate hikes on the rich.