From the Morning Memo:

The New York State United Teachers union today is bringing in hundreds of advocates to push for additional aid for schools and education in the state budget.

The union’s advocates are expected to pressure lawmakers for an increase of at least $1.5 billion — a figure that education advocates have argued satisfies a lawsuit over school funding.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has countered that education has been funded at historic levels while he’s been governor.

Still, education remains a top-tier issue, even as the more pitched battles over charter schools, teacher evaluations and classroom standards for testing have been quietly de-emphasized in recent legislative sessions.

Funding schools, especially in a re-election year for all legislative seats, remains a good applause line for constituents back home.

Nevertheless, lawmakers and Cuomo have less money to work with this year, given a $4.4 billion deficit, a shortfall that shrinks to more than $1 billion when a spending cap is applied.

NYSUT’s leadership pointed to a positive economic situation for the state, as well as an increased revenue forecast.

“The state’s rapidly improving economic picture means there’s a real opportunity for the state to more fully invest in its public schools, including dedicating new money to Foundation Aid as a way of increasing equity and further helping students to thrive,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta.

“This additional money can also help fund a much larger investment in SUNY, CUNY and our community college system. More higher education funding is vital to covering mandatory costs and supporting these great institutions as they work toward preparing New York students for the next wave of good jobs created by a better economy.”