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Local News

January 22, 2014

Area leaders OK with Cuomo budget so far

Trying to maintain three-year streak of getting deal on time

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

Assemblyman Daniel Stec (R-Queensbury) agreed with Little, saying the governor’s Universal Pre-kindergarten Program may need some tweaking.

“If you mandate everyone picks up pre-K, there’s going to be a gap in kindergarten funding. We have nine weeks (before the budget deadline) to negotiate these issues.”

STANDARDIZED TESTS

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) said she agreed with the governor’s position to end standardized testing in schools for students in kindergarten through second grade.

“I think that is critical,” she said. “Let our babies be babies for a little while.”

Duprey was also pleased to hear the governor say that the Board of Regents has poorly managed the Common Core education plan and that it needs to be reformed.

“I like that he said we need to take corrective measures to end all the anxiety that parents and students are feeling all across the state,” she said.

PARTIAL ROUTE 98 STUDY

The governor said he wants to spend $2.5 million for a Route 98 feasibility study.

Cuomo wasn’t talking about a study for the entire proposed 172-mile-long Interstate 98 — the “Rooftop Highway” concept — from Plattsburgh to Watertown, however, but a bypass to alleviate traffic on U.S. Route 11 in the Canton-Potsdam area.

The State Department of Transportation has studied the idea of a Rooftop Highway twice in the last 10 years and came to the conclusion that traffic on U.S. Route 11 is too light for a new interstate. The last study suggested smaller alterations, such as passing lanes and community bypasses.

Duprey said she has an open mind about the plan.

“I like what the governor said, though,” she said. “He said if it makes sense, then do it. If no, then put it to rest.”

CHATEAUGAY FUNDING

The governor did include some specific plans in his proposed budget for North Country communities, including money to help Chateaugay deal with the pending closure of the state prison there.

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