As a former school teacher I know the importance of having proper funding to plan teaching strategies to educate the kids. That’s why I’ve been such a strong advocate for fair and equal education funding. I’m proud to announce that my Assembly colleagues and I were successful in keeping our promise to oppose the budget cuts that the State and the city were trying to impose in this year’s budget.
As the legislator for the Gravesend/Bensonhurst area, I had invited parents and community leaders of District 21 to a “War Breakfast” at the Del Rio Diner to circulate “Keep the Promises” petitions and urge every PTA/PA to sign and send resolutions, “demanding that the mayor, the governor and the state legislature keep their promises to our children!”
As you know the State’s budget was to be in by March 31 2008, but, with Governor Spitzer’s resignation and the swearing in of Governor Paterson, the budget naturally was delayed with Governor Patterson new administration.
As one of the leaders pushing the Assembly to keep our promise, despite heavy pressure from the Senate, we were successful in passing the budget which included a 1.7 Billion dollars increase for education throughout the state. And we earmarked an additional 534 million for education over last year’s budget.
In addition, we restored in the budget the foundation formula $90 million dollars that had been taken out. This $90 million has been restored to the formula so that the city will be required to comply with the “Contract for Excellence,” in using these monies.
I am happy to announce that despite the governor wanting to delay the School Construction Funding Bill for 18 months, we in the Assembly were able to reject the proposed delay. Our only major disappointment was that we were unable to force the mayor to promise to maintain the current level of city’s school funding and not cut back on any of the city’s share of funding for education.
However I will renew my vow and will continue working with the parents to fight any further city school budget cuts.
William Colton is the assemblymember in the 47th Assembly District, which comprises Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, and Midwood.