Bob Cohen. Albany Times Union. 4/11/2006.
Your editorial stating that the current state budget is a mixed bag at best for Albany schools was right on the mark ("Good news, bad news," April 4). Even with the Legislature's $5.4 million increase in state education aid, Albany residents once again face the prospect of budget cuts and a double-digit property tax increase.
The Legislature's inadequate response to the crisis in our high-need school districts is particularly stunning, given that it came one week after a court order in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity litigation once again ordered more than $4.7 billion in increased aid for New York City schools, beginning with the 2006-07 school year.
For a half-decade now, education supporters have been calling for a statewide response to CFE that would give comparable aid increases to Albany and other high-need school districts.
Instead, my state senator, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, and his Republican colleagues once again bowed to the interests of Long Island and voted down a budget amendment by Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer that would have comprehensively revised the unfair school aid system. Sen. Oppenheimer's proposal, which was supported by Albany County Sen. Neil Breslin, would have provided Albany schools with $13.6 million in additional aid this year, and schools in Sen. Bruno's own Senate district with a $33.5 million increase.
Sens. Breslin and Oppenheimer should be commended for putting the interests of children first in this year's budget fight. If only I could say the same for Sen. Bruno
Public Policy Director
Alliance for Quality Education