Hawley says governor needs to release school aid numbers

Staff Reports Posted 26 February 2015 at 12:00 am

Assemblyman also responds to DREAM Act and business competition

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R-Batavia) called on Gov. Cuomo to release school aid runs across the state. Hawley said that school districts are up against the clock to present a workable budget plan to their faculty and residents.

The aid numbers are typically part of the governor’s budget proposal in January. This time Cuomo did not detail numbers for individual districts. He said they would see a state-wide increase of 1.7 percent in educational aid if the State Legislature doesn’t approve his educational reforms, and 4.8 percent more if the reforms are passed.

“The release of school aid runs is supposed to be a routine part of the budget process each year,” Hawley said. “The governor’s tactics rob students, faculty and parents of the ability to plan things such as availability of classes, extracurricular programs, faculty size and school tax burden. Without this information, school districts are forced to build contingency budgets that could likely include many layoffs and program eliminations. I am calling on Gov. Cuomo to do what is right for our school districts and release the required funding information.”

Hawley’s comments come after a press conference was held this morning by Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R-Canandaigua) urging Gov. Cuomo to release school aid runs. Superintendent Christopher J. Dailey of the Batavia City School District also commented on the lack of information.

“The governor holding back state aid runs has hindered the process of formulating our budget for the 2015-16 school year,” said Dailey. “To plan for flat state aid is the only choice we currently have. Playing games with the school system helps no one.”

Passage of Dream Act should not be a priority

The State Assembly passed a bill that would give college financial aid to immigrants living in the country illegally. The legislation still needs to get through the State Senate.

The Democrat majority in the Assembly approved the bill that would allow immigrants to participate in programs that distribute state-funded tuition breaks, including the Tuition Assistance Program and the Educational Opportunity Program.

“The Assembly’s passage of the DREAM Act demonstrates that we are still not putting the needs of New York citizens first,” Hawley said. “At a time when school districts are still struggling with the Gap Elimination Adjustment cuts and cannot properly formulate budgets because school aid runs have not been released, we chose to focus on funding for illegal aliens.

“The Assembly leadership and the governor are sending the message that legal New York taxpayers are less important than illegal aliens. Our priorities should be to fully fund and protect New York parents, teachers and students who are here legally before we give money to those who are not.”

Promotes the NY business plan competition

Hawley also encouraged college students to participate in New York’s annual business plan competition. Hawley praised the competition for allowing bright students across the state to present new ideas consistent with New York’s focus on nanotechnology, entrepreneurship and advanced technology. More than 600 students are expected to participate and compete for a top cash prize of $100,000.

“As the owner and operator of a small business, I know the hard work and ingenuity it takes to succeed as a business owner in New York,” Hawley said. “This competition highlights principles that make our state great – determined and visionary entrepreneurs and businesspeople. I am thrilled that we are allowing the next generation of business- and technology-minded students to fulfill their passions right here in New York State and generate ideas that will allow our economy to grow and thrive. I encourage all college students interested in this competition to participate.”

The competition’s regional semifinals, held at St. John Fisher College in Rochester for students from Hawley’s district, will be held in March and early April with the finals being held on April 24 at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. Since the first competition in 2010, more than 1,130 students have competed with cash prizes being awarded in excess of $1,300,000. Visit www.sunycnse.com/NYSBusinessPlanCompetition for more information about the competition.