Palumbo: Gov’s Educational Proposal Dead on Arrival

Anthony H. Palumbo

February 6, 2024

NYS Capitol

Here on Long Island, we love our schools, teachers, and students. Our education system is the reason many come to the Island to raise their families because it contributes to strong, healthy communities, and a balanced quality of life.

We should all be concerned that Governor Hochul’s proposed Executive Budget threatens our schools by ending the so-called “hold harmless” provision, which is a backdoor approach to cut millions of dollars in school aid. If the Governor's proposal is adopted, fifty-six school districts on Long Island will experience an instant decline in state funding. In Suffolk County, school districts will be out nearly $33 million in aid under the Governor’s proposal.

These cuts would have a dramatic impact on our schools, students, and communities.  Additionally, cuts of this magnitude could result in larger class sizes, reduced staff, and the elimination of athletic programs, extracurricular activities, and clubs for students. These draconian cuts would also place additional burdens on Long Island homeowners, who already pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. The Governor’s educational proposal is a lose-lose for Long Island and countless communities throughout the state.

Making this situation even worse, much of this critical education aid is being siphoned off to pay for the State’s astronomical, and growing commitment to the migrant crisis, to which over the past two years the Governor has allocated $4.3 billion. Clearly, the Governor and the Leadership in the Legislature are incapable of managing this crisis in an attempt to balance the budget on the backs of hardworking families and students.  This cannot be tolerated. Funding must be dedicated to school services for the benefit of families who play by the rules, pay the property taxes, and have the right to a quality education.

As lawmakers, parents, and concerned citizens, we must make our voices heard in opposition to the Governor’s elimination of the “hold harmless” provision, fight to restore education funding to our schools, and put our children’s needs and education first.

Anthony Palumbo

New York State Senator, 1st District