New York’s School Bond Boondoggle

This Election Day, Nov. 4, New Yorkers will be asked to approve Proposal 3, which would allow the state to issue $2 billion in bonds to finance the purchase by school districts of devices such as iPads and other computers; expand high-speed and wireless Internet capacity; install “high-tech security features”; and build new classrooms for pre-kindergarten programs. New York should think hard before supporting this costly and costly and wasteful proposal, which will force schools to spend more on items they don’t even consider priorities.


3+3 Reasons for Saying “No” to Proposal 3
Empire Center Online Issue Briefing

Editorial: State Propositions: Redistricting effort better than nothing; school borrowing doesn’t fill a vital need
The Buffalo News
“There are high-priority needs in New York State, not the least of which is repairing roads and bridges, that may be worth borrowing for. Sinking the state even deeper into debt to fund like-to-have items is a mistake.”

Editorial: State’s school tech initiative much too vague
Poughkeepsie Journal
“Indeed, Proposition 3 is incredibly vague, and the state has not done its due diligence.”

CBC: Vote “no” on the Smart Schools Bond Act
Citizens Budget Commission
Spending $2 billion for “smart” schools is  not an effective use of borrowed funds, especially when weighed against high-priority investment needs in key infrastructure. The borrowing capacity remaining under the debt cap should be reserved for these high-priority investments, not used to fund yet unjustified one-time technology purchases.

New York NOW on Proposal 3
Empire Center President E.J. McMahon sat down with Karen DeWitt to discuss the problems with Proposal 3. (Note: the interview begins at the 15:50 mark).

School Tech Bonds Helping Scarsdale Lost on Yonkers: Muni Credit
Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to borrow $2 billion for classroom technology in what would be New York’s biggest school-bond issue since 1997. Yet education groups say they didn’t ask for it, and some districts say they’d rather add teachers or universal pre-kindergarten.

School officials divided on bond
NY Torch
Chancellor Tisch’s comments in a radio interview today confirmed what’s been obvious since Gov. Cuomo first rolled out the bond proposal in his January State of the State message: school officials aren’t exactly thrilled with the idea.

New York’s School Bond Boondoggle
By E.J. McMahon – New York Post
On Election Day, New York voters will be asked to let the state borrow up to $2 billion to help public schools buy computer hardware they don’t urgently need and create space for pre-kindergarten programs that most districts outside New York City can’t afford.

CBC Policy Brief on Proposal 3
Citizens Budget Commission
The nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission “urges New Yorkers to vote ‘No’ for three reasons: the State is approaching its debt cap; capital investment in technology devices is unlikely to yield lasting benefits; and no needs assessment has been done to weigh investment in school technology against other pressing unfunded infrastructure investments.”

Tisch, school groups lukewarm to Cuomo bond proposal
Capital Pro
Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch didn’t give a direct answer when asked whether voters next month should approve a $2 billion bond act to boost technology in schools.

Marlin: Don’t be fooled by Cuomo’s Smart Schools
By George Marlin – Long Island Business News
Why has there been so little talk about this bond referendum? Because supporters are afraid if voters focus on it, a majority will realize it’s a $2 billion dollar boondoggle and vote it down.

Google guy to weigh in on tech funds?
NY Torch
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has been named by Governor Cuomo to a commission “charged with advising the State on how to best invest the Governor’s proposed $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act in order to enhance teaching and learning through technology.”

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