Updated 08/03/2011 10:57 PM
January Regents Exams Saved By Private Fundraising
Though Mayor Michael Bloomberg was able to secure $1.5 million in private donations to save the January Regents exams that many students rely on to graduate, he warned Wednesday that the state must be able to come up with the money for 2013. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
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High school students need the Regents exams to graduate, and an extra opportunity to take them may seem like a small thing. They’re offered in June, August and January.
However, when the state needed to save some cash this spring, they cut the January option.
Educators called that a big mistake.
“We need the January Regents,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. “It hurts our students. It hurts students going forward. And so we talked to the state, over and over again. Unfortunately, they did not come through.“
Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted those exams to happen, however. He said he made some calls and found five people with money who didn't want their names used but were willing to join him in kicking in $250,000 each.
“These were all people from New York City, including my Bloomberg Philanthropies, but the state said we can only do it if somebody comes up with the money for the whole state. So we did it for the whole state,” said Bloomberg.
With that $1.5 million gift, the state can now go ahead with the January tests, but Bloomberg said the state shouldn't get used to the private boost.
"They've got to understand that this is an obligation they have. We just cannot get the private sector to fill in for the state on every single thing or every time," said the mayor.
Last year, students took 150,000 tests in January. For many, it's an extra chance to get a diploma.
“[The January Regents help] students who've had interrupted education, who've had a child, who've been incarcerated, are most disadvantaged and most at-risk, who do come back and take exams. I had a student do it this past year and pass three in January,” said Sarah Scrogin, principal of the East Bronx Academy.
This was one of those rare issues that most people in the city education community seemed to agree on: cutting the January Regents would hurt students.
Now the big question is whether the state can come up with the money for 2013.