With all the focus on the budget deadline in Albany, lawmakers seem to be forgetting another deadline. The one to apply for hundreds of millions of dollars in Race to the Top funding. Capital Tonight's Kaitlyn Ross has more.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Compared to the state's fiscal crisis, getting anything else done has almost become laughable.
"Right now, what I'm trying to do is get this legislature to pass a budget," said Governor David Paterson.
But as the fiscal year marches on without a budget in place, the deadline for the second wave of Race To the Top funding is fast approaching and the Regents Chancellor is losing patience.
"We will not submit an application that we do not believe is going to be competitive," said New York State Education Chancellor Merryl Tisch.
Tisch issued an ultimatum to the legislature, saying if they didn't act to improve the state's chances, she would not apply for the second round of funding.
"We have a three week window of opportunity in this state in which we can force our stakeholders to come to the table to talk to us about raising the charter cap, to talk to us about appropriate teacher evaluation, to talk to us about the appropriate use of data in making informed, intelligent decisions about our children," said Tisch.
But to ensure the state is competitive, a number of changes have to pass both houses.
New York finished second to last in the first wave of funding because the legislature didn't act to lift a charter school cap and enact tenure reform.
"My chagrin is that I believe we could have won in the first round," Paterson said.
But with Republicans and Democrats, the Senate and the Assembly all at odds, some lawmakers are questioning whether it's the appropriate time to be talking education reform.
"The charter school issue, while out there, is not the most pressing issue at this time," said Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari.
But advocates of lifting the charter cap pushed back, saying that this funding should be the top priority.
"It's critical to get those hundreds of millions of dollars in to the budget to help our schools and help our kids who go to charter schools," said Senator Craig Johnson.
Johnson says the legislation could be included in the ongoing budget discussions to get everything pushed through at once.
"Right now, we have an opportunity, it's a simple opportunity. Pass my bill or put my bill into the budget. Get my bill passed, get the budget passed in the Senate and the Assembly," Johnson said.
But there has been no immediate indication that the Assembly would be open to including discussions of raising the charter school cap in budget talks.