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Bloomberg raises funds for testing

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Wednesday that he has raised $1.5 million from private donors to resume statewide January Regents testing, exams that are critical to thousands of college-bound students.

The tests that help as many as 5,000 students in New York City alone to graduate early and meet college requirements were cut beginning this year as the state addressed a multibillion-dollar deficit. Bloomberg said 80 percent of the students hurt by the decision were black or Hispanic, and some were returning to school after dropping out.

"I knew we had to do something, or we would be letting our kids down," Bloomberg said. "I've always believed that you can either complain about your problems or do something to fix them -- in New York City, we choose the latter."

New York City School Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott said that the city will continue working with the state Education Department, which creates and administers the tests, to find a long-term solution.

"These generous donations give these students the opportunity for an uninterrupted transition to a successful future," Walcott said.

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. said he's grateful for the funding that will provide some students the chance to graduate earlier than their class.

"A structural imbalance in funding for the past several years led to the difficult decision to curtail these exam administrations," said King, who became commissioner in May. He said $4 million in cost savings are planned to protect the tests this year.

Ernest Logan of the city Council of School Supervisors and Administrators commended the donors but noted, "We've come to a sad state of affairs in New York State when we have to raise private funds to support public education."

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