Bradley: Providing a quality education for our children

There is nothing more important to Westchester's future than educating young minds. I've worked in the Assembly to help children receive a quality education and to ensure that their parents can be actively involved in their education, I've fought to help students obtain a quality college education. I have consistently pushed for a strong investment in education without overburdening taxpayers, one that gives our children every advantage.

Since I took office, I worked hard to secure over $74 million to schools in the 89th Assembly District. The funding helps provide our schools with the tools they need to give our children a top-notch education. In order to keep our students active and safe after the final bell rings, I worked to secure $115,000 in funding so White Plains schools and community-based organizations can continue the Extended Day/School Violence Protection Program.

We as parents play one of the most crucial roles in keeping our children on the right track at school. To help parents stay involved in their child's education, I sponsored the Parent-Teacher Communications Act, which would allow all parents or guardians to communicate with children's teachers through an Internet program (A.6913). The program would help parents virtually meet with their child's teacher in the comfort of their own homes. The meetings will help parents better focus their energy to the areas of study that their children need the most help.

A strong investment in our children's education should not be solely shouldered by property-taxpayers. That is why I fought against the governor's repeated attempts to cut our school aid, which would have forced massive property tax increases. I rejected his plan to sacrifice the STAR program in order to pay for court ordered increases to school funding. I have not only fought to protect the STAR program, but also to expand eligibility so more property-taxpayers can benefit from the savings.

To stave off the governor's cuts to higher education, I also fought to restore funding to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP). TAP funding helps keep a college education affordable for many Westchester students. The Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU) has praised the Legislature for restoring the governor's cuts to TAP along with those to Higher Education Opportunity Programs and Direct Institutional Aid. It is unfortunate that the governor vetoed $8.75 million for necessary improvements at SUNY Purchase's Campus Central Plaza. The college is a vital part of our economy and I'm going to continue my efforts to invest in our higher education system.

From kindergarten through college, we must ensure our children achieve academic excellence. We must keep the dream of a college education within reach of all families. We must also be mindful of not overburdening taxpayers, as we provide all students with an opportunity to receive a top-notch education, these will be tools to help build a stronger economy and a stronger Westchester.