Cuomo proposes aid increase for schools

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 January 2014 at 12:00 am

5 districts in Orleans would get $3.5M more

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed an $807 million increase in education aid for schools in 2014-15, a 3.8 percent increase. That includes about $1.6 million more in operating aid for five districts in Orleans County and about $3.5 million more in overall funding, including building aid.

The governor also proposed a $2 billion “Smarts Schools” initiative that would add technology to schools, including high-speed Internet. The initiative also invests in classroom space for full-day pre-kindergarten.

The five Orleans districts would get $7.25 million of the Smart Schools money as part of a budget proposal unveiled today by Cuomo. Albion would receive $2,228,441 in Smart Schools funding, with the Holley at $1,311,463, Kendall at $967,959, Lyndonville at $733,151 and Medina, $2,000,222.

The State Legislature will weigh in on the budget, which has an April 1 deadline to be adopted.

Here are the numbers for each district:

Albion’s overall aid would increase 2.05 percent or by $488,487, increasing from $23,817,833 to $24,306,320. That includes building aid. The operating aid would be up $455,093 to $21,552,139.

Holley would see an overall increase of 15.65 percent or by $1,973,600 – from $12,608,780 to $14,582,380. That is driven by the state’s share in a capital improvement project at the school. Holley’s operating aid is up by $153,466 or 1.3 percent to $11,775,746.

Kendall’s overall aid increases by 3.8 percent or $345,342 from $8,899,710 to $9,245,052. Its operating aid would rise 3.0 percent to $8,620,585.

Lyndonville actually sees a slight drop in its overall state aid, according to the governor’s budget proposal. The district’s aid would decrease 0.2 percent or $15,890 from $7,813,809 to $7,797,919. Lyndonville’s operating aid would increase by $946 or by 0.1 percent to $6,348,586.

Medina would see a 3.8 percent increase or $736,887 more in overall aid, going $22,431,071 to $23,167,953. The district’s operating aid would increase 3.3 percent to $19,250,084.

The governor also proposed $1.5 billion over five years for full-day pre-kindergarten, $720 million over five years to expand after-school programs, and teacher excellence awards that would provide up to $20,000 in annual compensation for teachers that are rated “highly effective.”

Timothy G. Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, said the budget is “austere,” and doesn’t meet the $1.5 billion in state aid needed to maintain existing programs at 700 districts across the state.

“While the governor’s budget contains many laudable issues such as state-funded universal prekindergarten and after-school programs, his state aid allocation falls way short of the mark,” Kremer said.

He said he hopes the state Legislature will boost the state aid increase from the $807 million proposed by Cuomo.