Students across New York will once again be offered the state regents exam this coming January.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott announced today that they have raised $1.5 million in private donations that would fund the New York State Education Department Regents Exam's January administration, which was canceled in May to account for an $8 million state testing budget deficit.
The exams each year allow thousands of students in New York City alone the chance to graduate early, make up failed tests or get necessary future testing out of the way. Last year, almost 2,400 of the 3,454 students who graduated from New York City Schools earned their diplomas after taking the January exam, according to the New York City Department of Education.
Those who relied on the January exam administration are some of the most vulnerable students in the city -- such as those who returned to the classroom after dropping out or are English language learners. Also in that same pool, 80 percent were black and Hispanic.
The regents exam is also required for graduation and are also administered in June and August. The January exams are also often critical to students' entrance to college, and many were concerned that graduation rates would drop drastically with its discontinuation, The New York Times reported.
“For thousands of our students, taking the Regents Exams in January will mean the difference between graduating and not graduating,” Bloomberg said in a statement Wednesday.
The $1.5 million gift is a pool of six $250,000 donations from private sponsors. Bloomberg named himself as one of the six donors, but declined to identify the other five, saying the reveal would serve "no public purpose," Bloomberg News reports.
“I don't think it's anybody's business,” he said. “People, if they're going to be dragged through the press and called by the press, are unlikely to make donations.”
The mayor told reporters, however, that he had approached the other five for the gifts, and that the benefactors were neither in government nor with young children, Gotham Gazette reports.
The contributions announced today, however, will only last for this academic year.
"We just cannot get the private sector to fill in for the sate on every single thing or every time," Bloomberg told NY1 News.
The city is working with the state legislature and Education Department to devise a sustainable solution, Walcott told CBSNewYork.