March 31, 2008

Lawmakers near state budget agreement

Source: NYSUT News Wire

Lawmakers in Albany are nearing final agreement on an on-time April 1 state budget that will likely include a record $1.8 billion increase in funding for public schools.

NYSUT legislative representatives worked long hours through the weekend to ensure that schools had sufficient resources. Although budget bills had not yet been printed Monday morning, legislative staff say the state education budget moves toward fulfilling the promises to high-need districts made last year; restores cuts to BOCES, and includes funding for Teacher Centers and mentoring programs at least at last year’s levels. In addition, NYSUT staff said agreement had been reached on high-tax aid for downstate school districts.

The union’s legislative staffers were hard at work seeking to reverse proposed cuts to SUNY, CUNY and community colleges, and reported some progress Monday.  Lawmakers are working on a package of fees and other revenue enhancers that can be used to boost funding for higher education and health care.  As more details become clear, they will be posted on www.nysut.org