Ariana Lubelli Apr 7, 2017, 2:19 pmApr 7, 2017, 2:28 pm

Education forum at Pace University sets sights on pending state budget

Leaders, teachers, students and state education commissioner voice concerns about school funding, bullying and hate crimes

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At an open forum at Pace University, education leaders joined teachers and students to voice their concerns over the current education system.

Panelists discussed state testing, evaluations, standards, curriculums and what State Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia says was a main focus at the event: the pending state budget.

"This has been a difficult year,” said Commissioner Elia. “There still is no budget out of Albany so that makes it very difficult for school districts so I think that's the key thing on their minds."

Without an approved budget deal by Governor Cuomo and lawmakers, education leaders say it's put a hold on their future.

"If you're a good administrator, good principal, you want to have planning,” said Kathleen Cashin, member of the Board of Regents. “Organization is the underpinning of everything and when you don't have the budget amount, it really inhibits your ability to plan successfully."

There were some concerns about bullying and hate crimes at area schools. Speaking with FiOS1 News, the State Commissioner of Education says they seem to be statewide issues.

"I think we've had a lot of stresses in a society generally where we have seen some issues across New York,” continued Commissioner Elia. “Attorney General Schneiderman and I have sent out guidance to school districts on the anticipation that there are issues. These are related to specific laws that we have in New York State and how the district should handle it."

Some lawmakers scheduled to attend were not able to because they are still in Albany working on a budget, on a deadline that’s been extended by Governor Cuomo.

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