Friday, March 14, 2008

It'll Be OK, Really It Will

As folks scramble to reassemble the state government prior to a budget deadline of April 1, I received a long missive from the only lobbying group with which I'm affiliated, NYSSBA:
Politically, we can anticipate a continued collaboration between local school leaders and a new Paterson administration. Lt. Governor Paterson has a long and distinguished history of working with school boards and in support of public education. As you may recall, he is a past recipient of NYSSBA’s Legislative Leader of the Year Award. We expect that despite the current economic and political climate, the new governor will continue to seek information and assistance from NYSSBA and its members.

For now, local school leaders can take some comfort in the stability of having an individual with legislative experience, and a collaborative political style taking the reigns of state government. As you continue local budget preparations, know that the legislature’s intentions of restoring key elements of the Executive Budget proposal, such as School Resource Officers, BOCES aid and high tax aid, as well as their rejection of burdensome proposals (such as a shift in the cost of high cost special education) should be undeterred by these latest events.
It's always a little alarming when a group associated with education has trouble with commas and doesn't know the difference between homophones (reigns/reins), but it's equally maddening that they assume they know the legislature's intentions and are telling us to rest assured.

Here are the facts: There's not enough money to cover the Governor's budget, let alone the Assembly's additions. This is a giant shell game that could easily result in our finding that expected aid is removed halfway through the year. It has happened before--predictably after the November election. Is this any way to run a state?

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