The approximately 125 Teacher Resource and Computer Training Centers in the state got a last-minute reprieve in the 2011-12 budget with a $14.3 million allocation in the budget year, which is $20.4 million for the school year.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget did not include any money for the training program, which was set up 26 years ago following an agreement of the Legislature, state Education Department and New York State United Teachers. The Senate’s one-house budget resolution mirrored the governor’s on that issue, but the Assembly had $32.5 million in its one-house spending plan.
That’s follows no state funding in 2010-11 and a $35 million allocation two years ago using federal stimulus money.
NYSUT pushed for setting aside some state money for teacher centers, saying that not providing any would shift more of the financial burden for training teachers to school districts. There is a need for training with the state Education Department preparing to roll out a new teacher and principal evaluation system, and new standards, curriculum and tests. Teachers certified since 2004 have to get 175 hours of professional development every five years.
It was unclear until yesterday whether the teacher centers would see any funding in the new fiscal year. Lawmakers were focused on what restorations they could make to Cuomo’s proposed cuts of more than $1 billion in school aid. The governor and the Legislature had to close a $10 billion deficit.
Centers have been able to use the state money to help leverage about $50 million in programs through public/private partnerships with companies like Verizon and Microsoft.