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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2004

As Districts Finalize New School Budgets, Schumer Reveals "No Child Left Behind" Law Under-Funds Long Island Schools By $35 Million

Lost federal funds also help hike property tax bills coming this May

Based on brand-new Department of Education numbers, Schumer, parents and district officials urge Congress to send LI remaining $35 million to hire new teachers, reduce class size, and provide specialized instruction in math and reading

Schumer releases comprehensive district-by-district numbers; Nassau Schoo

US Senator Charles E. Schumer today said an analysis by his office based on brand-new data from the US Department of Education reveals that schools on Long Island are being shortchanged approximately $35 million in funding from No Child Left Behind under the Administration's new education budget proposal. Schumer said it was vital for the federal government to provide the Title I funding that was authorized in the landmark No Child Left Behind bill to hire new teachers, reduce class size, and provide specialized instruction in math and reading – particularly as Long Island school districts finalize their 2004-2005 budgets and cities, towns and villages prepare their May property tax bills.

“It's one thing to hold schools to high standards, but what good is it if you don't give them the resources they need to meet those standards?” Schumer said. “Our schools have real needs and are depending on Washington to keep its commitment – especially as we finalize schools budgets and property tax bills are sent out. All the talk about the education bill that got passed is nothing more than lunchroom chatter if the funding isn’t there."

Title I, the largest program in the No Child Left Behind Act, helps struggling school districts keep pace with more cash-rich ones. The program is used mostly to pay the salaries of teachers and para-professionals, but schools can also spend funds on professional development, educational materials, afterschool programs, and a wide range of other purposes such as specialized instruction. The Title I program also includes key accountability measures, so that schools receiving Title I funding that fail to raise student academic achievement will face severe sanctions, like being taken over by the state, or having its employees replaced.

A new analysis based on data released to Schumer’s office last week shows that the Administration's new budget proposal fails to provide the actual dollars that were authorized in the bill to help Long Island schools meet these new performance requirements. In fact, although the education bill intends to help schools hire and retain highly-qualified teachers, improve curricula, repair buildings and make other improvements, the budget proposal shortchanges Long Island schools by $34.581 million.

Schumer said that if the federal government fails to fully fund the "No Child Left Behind" authorizations, the impact of local budget crunches will be exacerbated this next school year. His budget analysis revealed that the proposed budget shorts school districts on Long Island including: • Plainview-Old Bethpage schools are shortchanged by about $126,000 • Bayshore schools are shortchanged by about $1.05 million; • Half Hollow Hills schools are shortchanged by about $389,000; • Freeport schools are shortchanged by about $1.15 million; • Middle County schools are shortchanged by about $531,000; • Hempstead schools are shortchanged by about $2.30 million; • Patchogue-Medford schools are shortchanged by about $486,000; • Lawrence schools are shortchanged by about $488,000; • Uniondale schools are shortchanged by about $545,000; • William Floyd schools are shortchanged by about $1.94 million; • Port Washington schools are shortchanged by about $257,000; • Baldwin schools are shortchanged by about $305,000; • Westbury schools are shortchanged by about $721,000.

The full list of Long Island school districts is attached and is also available at schumer.senate.gov.

Schumer urged the Congress and the White House to bolster the Administration's proposal by sending the full amount of money promised to schools under the bill -- including $35 million more to Long Island than is in the current proposal. “From one end of the state to the other, no matter who I talk to, New Yorkers of all stripes are worried about the education their children are getting. The only way to make sure our kids are learning the skills and facts they need is to invest in them -- and that means money, not just words. Congress needs to step up to the plate and come through with the funding that was authorized in No Child Left Behind.”

Schumer was joined by Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District Superintendent Dr. Martin G. Brooks, President of PTA Council Beverly Artz, Board of Education President Cathy Shapp, Superintendent of Eastern Suffolk BOCES Mr. Gary Bixhorn, and President of the Board of Eastern Suffolk BOCES Ms. Pamela Betheil.

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