The North Down MLA said the area of education had already “suffered cut after cut” which had been devastating to the sector.
“Public finances in Northern Ireland are in complete disarray following the collapse of the Executive and the imposition of a budget by the Secretary of State,” she said.
“Education has suffered cut after cut, with vital programmes and services being lost on an almost weekly basis in recent months. They have been devastating and we cannot in good conscience support a budget that punishes our children and young people.
“A good education is a fundamental right for all children and it is essential adequate levels of funding are provided. Our children and young people deserve to be given the best possible start in life.
“We urgently need investment to put education on a safe footing that ensures all statutory duties are met by the Department and the EA in the short-term.
“Transformation of education is the only sustainable solution to these challenges. Recent cuts are simply pushing the broader challenges around transformation down the road, causing potentially even more harm in the longer term. We cannot stand over cuts that would put our children or the EA into an even more challenging position in the future.
“It is unacceptable schools and children are now bearing the brunt of political and economic failure. The education sector is in crisis, so it is therefore unforgivable we do not have an Education Minister in place to take control and put the interests of children first.”