Senator Valesky Named "freshman Legislator Of The Year"

David J. Valesky

March 06, 2006

Recognizing his commitment to education, Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) was honored as the "Freshman Legislator of the Year" on March 5th at the New York School Board Association’s annual legislative conference.

"When I took office, I made my support of public education a top priority. I believe sound education is a foundation not just for individual success, but for the economic prosperity of the entire community," said Sen. Valesky. "I am honored that the New York State School Board Association has recognized my commitment to education and my work on behalf of our children’s future."

As the son of retired public school teachers, the husband of an elementary school teacher, and a product of the SUNY system, Sen. Valesky strongly supports a quality public education system that provides every child with an equal opportunity to succeed. Since taking office, he has been working on innovative legislative solutions to the challenges faced by school districts.

He has proposed several education-related bills, including one that requires the state commissioner of education to develop a comprehensive sound basic education plan for certain fiscally dependent school districts. Another bill he has proposed establishes a state income tax credit for the unreimbursed expenditures teacher pay out-of-pocket for classroom and teaching supplies. Most notably, Sen. Valesky, along with Assembly Energy Committee Chair Paul Tonko, proposed the New York State School District Energy Cost Stabilization Fund. This proposed fund would use the state surplus to help individual school districts deal with higher than expected energy costs, rather than passing that burden on to property tax payers.

Sen. Valesky has also spoken out regularly on the need for education funding reform, most notably on the editorial pages of the Syracuse Post Standard, the Auburn Citizen, the Oneida Daily Dispatch, and the Eagle newspapers. And Sen. Valesky was the keynote speaker at the 2005 statewide convention of Delta Kappa Gamma, an organization of women educators. In that address he again called for an earnest state commitment to education funding reform.