E-Mail Newsletter – January 16, 2014

The fight to fund education in New York State is roaring back with the beginning of the state legislative session, with advocates and lawmakers making their case for a number of initiatives that affect public school education in the Empire State.

Despite increases in funding for education over the last two years, upwards of 90 percent of schools have less operating aid now than in FY 2008-09, so class sizes have grown as school districts continue to cut a wide range of educational programming. Restoring education funding will continue to be a priority for me this session and as we head into budget season.

I joined fellow legislators and the Alliance for Quality Education to call on Governor Cuomo to increase school aid by $1.9 billion when he releases his executive budget next week.

Delaying the implementation of Common Core

Implementation of Common Core standards remains problematic for school districts, teachers, parents, and particularly students. I am encouraged by the Speaker's statement last week calling for a "delay and a re-evaluation of the implementation of Common Core" standards. In response to this, I was interviewed by WTEN’s Trishna Bagam about looking more in-depth about this change in education.

Extending Federal Unemployment Insurance

Congressman Paul D. Tonko and I spoke with two unemployed New Yorkers who recently lost unemployment insurance in an effort to draw attention to the plight of the 1.3 million unemployed workers who have had benefits expire at the end of last year. Congress remains at an impasse on extending these benefits and Congressman Tonko is to be commended for his work in supporting the extension of this critical lifeline.

Events in and around the 109th District

+ The fifth annual Albany Wine and Dine for the Arts is the weekend of January 24 through 26 throughout Downtown Albany. 250 global wines, spirits, and craft beers, 70 innovative chefs and participating restaurants, and eight different events are all part of the festival – proceeds go to benefit Albany’s arts organizations.

+ The historic Madison Theater will reopen its doors this Friday, Jan. 17 at 5 p.m., with a special tribute to the late Paul Newman. The Madison has undergone a major transformation that has restored this Pine Hills landmark for future generations to come, showing second run films and community exhibitions. For more information, visit the theater's website.

You’re invited to our open house on Friday, Jan. 24: Come join us on Friday, Jan. 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in our office (Room 452 in the Legislative Office Building in Albany) for an open house. Please note you must enter through either the State Capitol or the Empire State Plaza concourse to go through security in order to enter the building.

Capital District Assembly Update: Tune in every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on Channel 17 (for Time Warner Cable subscribers) for the next episode of Capital District Assembly Update, co-hosted by Assemblymember McDonald and me. You can also previous episodes and clips on my Assembly website.

As always, for the latest about my office’s happenings or for upcoming events, please visit my office online, on Facebook, on Twitter, or my Times Union blog. If you would like to reach my office, please feel free to send us a note.

Sincerely ---