All signs look like we are heading towards a huge influx in education funding for New York City starting in 2019. Democrats appear poised to take control of the state Senate chamber, and their conference will be more progressive following last Thursday’s election results. Moreover, the Assembly Democratic conference has been chomping at the bit to shift the education budget more favorably to the five boroughs. But, while it seems like Democrats can all agree to more funding for city schools, they are very thin on specific ideas of how to spend that money to actually improve the lives of our children.
Currently, no clear, coherent outline for improving New York City schools is being presented by a united, respected coalition of education advocates. Instead, what we have are recycled policy ideas and tired calls for more funding. We at the Queens Tribune fully endorse more funding for city schools, but it should come with more clarity about what we are getting as taxpayers.
If the progressive city Democrats don’t come up with more specifics soon—and agree on a strategy—they will find themselves getting railroaded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a consistent advocate for education reform, in next year’s budget. It’s unlikely Cuomo will hold the water for Long Island and Hudson Valley counties, which have been benefiting from more than their fair share of education funds for decades, but you can bet he will use the desired redistribution of state funds to force policy reforms he’s been wanting to implement since he was first elected.
Every year, the education budget is one of the biggest sticking points in negotiations, and next year is likely to be no different. Gov. Cuomo is going to be ready. We suggest that the new progressives and returning state lawmakers get ready as well. And it would be great if they brought some fresh, new, bold ideas to the table—the types of ideas that inspire and reassure taxpayers that their money is being spent wisely and is going to improve the lives of our children.