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Statewide ed programs also being cut, but the news isn't all bad

Gov. Paterson’s cost-cutting proposal yesterday didn’t just ask local school districts to reduce their budgets. It also took a knife to education programs that are funded by the state.

The Buffalo News today reported on some of those statewide cuts:

• Requiring districts to pay 15 percent of the cost of preschool special-education services. Those costs are now covered by the state and counties.

• Delaying for at least two years planned increases in prekindergarten funding.

• Eliminating $40 million for teacher development centers.

• Scrapping a $10 million Teacher Mentor Intern Program, which allows veteran teachers to assist less-experienced colleagues.

• Eliminating a $10 million fund that provided math and science programs of which students can avail themselves at colleges and universities.

An important note about that second bullet point: Even though Gov. Paterson isn’t increasing state pre-K funding, New York City could still see an increase in the number of children enrolled in universal pre-K programs. That’s because school districts will have access for the next two years to the same level of pre-K funding they had this year, a state budget official told me today. This year, New York City was budgeted for $230 million in state pre-K funds, but as Elizabeth noted, it’s unlikely to enroll enough children to use up all of the money. For the next two years, the city will have access to the same $230 million. If current enrollment trends continue, or even if enrollment increases by 10 percent in the next two years, there will be sufficient state funds to accomodate them.

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