FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2006
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND GOVERNOR PATAKI ANNOUNCE STATE FUNDING FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION IN NEW YORK CITY
Governor Signs Legislation Providing State's Share of New York City's 5-Year, $13 Billion School Capital Construction Plan
Twenty-One School Construction Projects Previously Delayed Will Now Move Forward
This Year's Funding Will Provide for 66,000 New Classroom Seats for New York City Schoolchildren
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki today announced an agreement under which the State will provide its 50-percent share of New York City's $13.1 billion School Capital Construction Plan. Governor Pataki signed the legislation providing $1.8 billion in aid and authorizing an additional $9.4 billion in financing through the New York City Transitional Finance Authority, half of which will be paid for by the State and half of which will be paid for by the City. This combined State and City school construction aid for New York City will be used for the modernization and expansion of City schools as laid out in the Department of Education's Five-Year Capital Construction Plan. Mayor Bloomberg made securing state capital construction funds the City's highest priority in Albany this year.
"Parents across the City want new schools in their neighborhoods, but the plain facts were that there just wasn't enough money for them - until this morning," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We went to communities in every borough and all across this city this winter with a very clear and important message: by working together and making our voices heard, we can do the right thing and build the new classrooms, science labs, playgrounds, gyms and libraries this and future generations of our students need. I want to thank Governor Pataki for his leadership in approving this funding and recognizing the importance of school construction aid for New York City. And I want to thank Speaker Silver and Majority Leader Bruno for helping to bring us to this day."
"I am proud that the budget we enacted will provide vital support for school construction efforts in New York City as a key part of our ongoing efforts to provide record investments in our children's education," said Governor Pataki. "This new record State construction aid will allow New York City to modernize and improve our schoolchildren's learning environment, ensuring that present and future New York City students can receive the first-class education they deserve. I thank the Mayor for identifying school construction funding as the City's key priority and for working diligently with the Legislature and my Administration to assure that we could develop an appropriate financing plan that recognizes the needs of the parents and schoolchildren of New York City, as well as the fiscal challenges faced by the State."
"Today, New York's leadership is finally in agreement on how to provide the resources necessary to build the new schools we need and to renovate our existing schools as well as to upgrade the technological capacity of all of our public schools," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "School children don't care about budgets or elections or legacies. All that these children want is for their leaders, their parents, their teachers to care enough about them to provide the best learning environments possible so that when the time comes, they will be prepared to lead this great City and State of New York."
"The budget adopted by the Legislature delivers a positive result for school children in New York City and throughout the State by making a major investment in new classrooms and state-of-the-art facilities for students to learn and for teachers to educate and inspire," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno.
In February, the Mayor announced that 21 school construction projects would be delayed due to a lack of state funding. The money announced today will ensure that those projects move forward including 15,000 new classroom seats in elementary, middle and high school facilities across the City. This year alone, this funding will also provide for the creation of nearly 40 new science labs, 15 new libraries, 60 new athletic facilities, 40 new arts facilities, 20 new technology upgrades and 20 new heating systems.
In November 2003, Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Klein announced $13.1 billion school capital construction plan, half of which is to be paid for by the City and half of which is to be paid for by the state. The $1.8 billion the State provided today, along with the State's half of the $9.4 billion ($4.7 billion) in financing through the Transitional Finance Authority, represents the State's full $6.5 billion share of the City's $13.1 billion capital construction plan.
"This is a great day for the New York City public school system," said Chancellor Klein. "In building new schools and classrooms and facilities across the city where they are most needed, we are sending a powerful message of commitment to the success of every child in the public schools. I thank the Governor and Legislature for supporting that commitment and the Mayor for his leadership and resolve."
The Mayor and Governor were joined by Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, State Senator Martin Golden, State Senator Frank Padavan, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, City Council Member Robert Jackson, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten for the announcement in Sunset Park, Brooklyn - the future site of a new high school that will be paid for with these funds.
Stu Loeser/Virginia Lam (212) 788-2958
David Cantor (Department of Education)
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