2007-03-16 / Community

Councilman Addabbo: Keep Check On School Funding

City Councilman Joseph Addabbo and other local legislators, including Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (rear) speak about education funding.

City Councilman Joseph Addabbo and other local legislators, including Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer (rear) speak about education funding. City Council Member Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. has joined the thousands of parents, teachers, administrators, and school advocates in calling for input and caution when discussing how to allocate the funding for area schools.

Under this year's New York State budget to be adopted, Governor Eliot Spitzer plans to increase aid to New York City schools. Together with funding from the city, schools in the five boroughs would get $1.7 billion next year. Governor Spitzer has proposed an extensive four-year plan to raise state education funding to over $10 billion by 2011.

"This amount of funding is long overdue," Addabbo stated. "While I am grateful for the funding, I believe we must have input and be careful on how it is spent on our schools." The councilman mentioned he is also curious and will examine what the increased funding would mean for the schools in his district.

During a recent visit to Albany, Addabbo participated in a press conference that called for a reduction in class size throughout the city schools. The media event focused on legislation introduced by Assemblyman Rory Lancman and has 55 co-sponsors including Assembly Members Cathy Nolan, Audrey Pheffer and most of the other Queens representatives. Referred to as the "Class Size Reduction Act," the bill would require the city to spend 25 percent of the additional state education aid towards a reduction in class size.

Queens County has some of the most overcrowded classrooms in the city, according to Addabbo. New York City has an average class size of approximately 28 students in seventh grade, which is higher than the state average of 21 students. Larger class sizes in high schools are a greater problem, Addabbo noted.

Many issues are attached to the one of adding classroom space according to Addabbo. "We have a great opportunity here to lower class sizes and increase the educational environment for our children and teachers," Addabbo said. The councilman, who is Chair of the City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor, looks forward to the city hiring additional qualified teachers and towards working with the Bloomberg Administration on making an increased effort to improve student resources such as investments in computers, books and labs during this fiscal year. Addabbo is also advocating for the mayor's administration to hear more input from the parents and schools regarding education funds and changes in the school system. "Not only must we be wary of how this governmental funding is spent on our children, but I believe we must also allow for the voices and ideas of the parents and school personnel to be heard," Addabbo concluded.

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