Take a bow, Tom DiNapoli.
That’s the gist of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s statement this afternoon in response to the state comptroller’s report that school districts can use their reserve funds to offset the cuts in education aid as recommended by the governor.
Here’s the full Cuomo statement:
“Today’s report from the Comptroller’s Office finds even more evidence to support the education budget I proposed. The report says all but roughly 100 of the State’s 696 districts have enough reserves to cover the proposed reduction for this year. That’s only reserves. This does not include any renegotiation of health benefits or salaries and it does not include rooting out waste or finding greater efficiencies. The oft-repeated scare tactic from various interest groups that teachers must be fired simply is not so. And what’s worse, it uses students as pawns in a political game. School districts and the Albany bureaucracy must wake up, do what families across the State have done and adjust to the new economic reality: we must stop throwing money at our State’s problems. We must think of performance for the students, not money for the bureaucracy and special interests. Right now, New York is number one in education spending and number 34 in performance. This is not the New York I know. It’s a new day and we must find a new way.”
The report comes the same day as Cuomo went into stump-speech mode with reporters earlier today following a five-way leadership meeting. Cuomo railed against education groups that play “political games” with his proposed cuts.
Cuomo,in recommending his cuts on Feb. 1, has argued districts can use their cash reserves and reduce superintendent pay in order to avoid layoffs in addition to cutting administrative overheard.
But in response to Cuomo’s talk, the Alliance for Quality Education, a union-backed education advocacy group, fired off a set of statements blasting the governor.
Here’s one from Billy Easton, the group’s executive director:
“Governor Cuomo is in denial when he says he can cut $1.5 billion from schools without hurting kids and the people of New York know it,” Easton said. “The Governor says people who support quality public schools are playing politics, meanwhile he is robo calling voters homes and there is a committee of millionaires doing direct mail to force through school cuts and finance tax cuts for the wealthiest New Yorkers. Exactly who is playing politics? Local schools are slashing programs and preparing pink slips for teachers—it’s in the headlines of every paper across the state. The simple truth is Governor Cuomo’s budget will hurt kids and help millionaires.”