Senator Flanagan Named Chairman of Senate Education Committee

John J. Flanagan

January 11, 2011

Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District), who has been a leader in the fight to secure Long Island’s fair share of state education aid, has been selected as the Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Education.

The selection, which was announced by Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, will help Senator Flanagan expand his role in the fight to protect the educational system of both Long Island and the entire State of New York.  In this new position, Senator Flanagan will have a clearer and more effective voice in shaping the educational goals of our state and the future of the state’s children.

The new role will also allow for an expanded and more influential role in state budget negotiations.  That will provide Senator Flanagan with a greater ability to bring the voice of Long Island homeowners and students to the budget table when state funding is decided.

“Senator Flanagan has been a valuable voice in the fight to protect our state’s education system and this new role will allow him to use his experience and his understanding of this complex issue to benefit all of our residents.  His ability to balance the needs of the system with the realities facing our taxpayers will be essential in the coming year and for the future of our state and I thank him for accepting this challenge,” stated Senator Skelos.

Last year, as the ranking Republican member of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Flanagan was a constant and vocal leader in the effort to make sure that schools in the suburban areas of our state were provided with their fair share of state funding.  These efforts led to a more equitable shift of state resources to area schools and helped protect residents from overwhelming tax increases.

In his new role as the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Flanagan will continue that work while also playing a leading role in the effort to provide school districts with sorely needed mandate relief and with additional tax relief to homeowners.

“While we all know New York State is facing tough economic issues, the funding of our educational system is one of the most important responsibilities we have in state government.  Our educational system is a source of pride because our parents care and our children and teachers work extremely hard.  We need to maximize the funding available to help them continue their successes while also making sure we avoid placing any more of a burden on local property taxpayers and business owners,” stated Senator Flanagan.  “While many will say that this is impossible, it is my belief that our state has an historic opportunity to change how government operates and I look forward to working with all parties to make the changes we need for our future.”

“I am pleased to see John receive this appointment because he possesses the unique ability to assess situations from many perspectives.  That allows him to have extremely high credibility with those who have a different political persuasion or a different viewpoint and to get things done,” said Edward L. Ehmann, Superintendent of the Smithtown Central School District.  “As a Long Island superintendent, I am glad to see that the education committee is being chaired by an individual who not only has a strong grasp of education issues statewide, but also an intimate knowledge of the immediate concerns of the local area.”

“Senator Flanagan understands and appreciates the value of public education and his belief in our educational efforts is very much appreciated.  He has continually displayed his recognition of the budgetary problems that unfunded mandates present to school districts throughout the state and will continue to be a champion in finding ways to reduce these costs for the benefit of our students and our residents,” stated Middle Country Central School District Superintendent Roberta Gerold.

“Senator Flanagan is an outstanding choice.  He has consistently proven himself as an advocate for children and a staunch defender of public education for Long Island with a global view of what the entire state needs,” added Northport-East Northport Union Free School District Superintendent Marylou McDermott.