State budget boosts aid for school districts

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2019 at 11:56 am

The newly adopted state budget boosts funding for about 700 school districts across the state by about $1 billon to $27.9 billion total, out of an overall state budget of $175.5 billion.

The five school districts in Orleans County will collectively see their aid increase by $4,218,481 from $90,187,018 to $94,405,499. Of that funding, Foundation Aid for the five districts is up from $62,989,454 to $64,321,594.

Here is a breakdown of the aid for the five districts:

District 2018-19 2019-20 Change
Albion $26,284,822 $26,900,100 $615,278 (2.3%)
Holley $17,143,587


$317,459 (1.9%)
Kendall $12,358,316 $12,704,072 $345,756 (2.8%)
Lyndonville $9,415,349 $9,128,047 $-287,302 (-3.1%)
Medina $24,984,944 $28,212,234 $3,227,290 (12.92%)
Total for all 5 $90,187,018 $94,405,499 $4,218,481 (4.7 %)
Source: NYS Division of the Budget

Editor’s note: Lyndonville’s overall aid was down mainly because of a drop in building aid, from $1,612,890 to $837,971. Without the building aid, Lyndonville’s school funding was up by $487,617 or 6.3 percent.

Medina, which is working on a $34 million capital project, is seeing a big increase in overall aid partly because of the building aid increasing from $2,070,276 to $4,207,671. Not including building aid, Medina is slated to get  a $1,089,895 increase in state aid or by 4.8 percent.

The New York State School Boards Association gave a favorable reaction to the state funding for schools.

Here is a statement from Timothy G. Kremer, NYSSBA executive director:

“The new state budget agreement includes a number of victories for school districts and students in New York’s public schools.

“First, while the $618 million increase in foundation aid is below our request, it is nearly double the amount proposed by the governor and represents a strong investment in our public schools.

“Equally important, the budget preserves local school board authority to allocate funding within school district buildings.

“In addition, lawmakers enacted significant policy changes and mandate relief, enacting several longstanding school board priorities. These include authorizing school districts to create a TRS reserve fund and increasing the BOCES District Superintendent salary cap. These changes provide school board members with financial management tools to stabilize fluctuating pension costs from year to year, and recruit top leadership talent to manage our regional BOCES throughout the state.

“We are disappointed that the tax cap was made permanent with no changes, but will continue to work with lawmakers to make common-sense changes to the cap. We applaud lawmakers for rejecting proposals to consolidate expense-based aids and reduce building aid reimbursement.

“Finally, students will benefit from a NYSSBA-supported initiative, included in the budget, that allows community colleges and high schools to provide dual enrollment programs that enable students to receive college credit at little or no cost.”

The Alliance for Quality Education, however, was disappointed in the aid for schools.

Jasmine Gripper, legislative director for the Alliance, said the $1 billion in total increase in school aid is far below the New York State Board of Regents recommendation of $2.1 billion increase, including $1.6 in Foundation Aid.

New York is number two in the nation in inequitable school funding and the funding gap between rich and poor schools has grown by 25 percent under Governor Cuomo. This budget will make educational inequity continue to grow, Gripper said.

Here is the statement from Gripper:

“This year’s budget is one of dashed hopes and deferred dreams. Foundation Aid is the core funding for the education of our children. It is the money that gets into the classroom. With a $175.5 billion budget, the need for $1.2 billion in new Foundation Aid seems like a drop in the bucket to educate and invest in the future of our state. This time we cannot blame the Republicans. The reality is that the triple blue state leadership, took the route of protecting millionaires over transforming educational opportunity in the state.

“This budget fails to address the needs of students and their families. The $620 million increase of Foundation Aid is sorely inadequate, one that will not even make a dent in the systemic racism in education funding, but instead further locks it into place. This means more overcrowded classrooms, out of date technology, a continued crisis shortage of social workers and school counselors and grossly inadequate resources for student learning.

“There is no question that Andrew Cuomo is the biggest obstacle to providing every child in this state with a ‘sound, basic education.’ Once again he has planted himself firmly in front of the schoolhouse door to block the resources needed to educate every child, in particular Black, Brown, immigrant and economically disadvantaged children. Governor Cuomo continues to choose to be a champion of the millionaires and one percent  at the expense of our children’s education.

“The Legislature proposed one house budgets that would have met students’ needs, but in the enacted budget they negotiated a mere $50 million increase over the Cuomo proposal. Students need a more forceful commitment to educational justice from the Assembly and the Senate.”

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