screen-shot-2014-10-13-at-2-13-55-pm-150x150-7655351Local school boards and superintendents “are all over the map on” Proposal 3, the ballot initiative that would let the state borrow $2 billion for distribution to schools that want to buy new computers and build pre-kindergarten classrooms. So says Dr. Merryl H. Tisch—and as chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents, she ought to know.

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.

Asked about Proposal 3 on WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom, the chancellor cited the stuff the bond would pay for, adding (starting at the 29:25-minute point):

… those are all very important pieces of school funding, but we are hearing from our districts, from the school boards association, and from superintendents, that loads of them are supporting it, many of them are not going to vote for it, many of them are going to vote for it. They’re all over the map on this, and certainly the politics of this, I believe, are up to the Legislature and the governor to … go out and campaign for. We are just charged with the particular implementation of it, and so I don’t think that it’s our place to tell a school district you should support it or not support it.

Tisch hastened to add that she thinks classroom technology and pre-kindergarten are “important things.”

However, the bond act ultimately isn’t about the desirability of classroom technology or pre-K expansions—although both are certainly debatable. The core issue raised by Proposal 3 is whether a state general obligation bond issue, even one with a relatively short “weighted average” duration of 10 to 20 years, is the best way of paying for a combination of short-lived tech and long-lived buildings, when existing annual state aid categories already subsidize both without testing the state’s bond limits.  

Go here for more on Proposal 3.

About the Author

E.J. McMahon

Edmund J. McMahon is Empire Center's founder and a senior fellow.

Read more by E.J. McMahon

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