Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thoughts about Governor Cuomo’s Budget Proposal

This past week, Governor Cuomo unveiled his state spending plan for 2013-14, which includes a 3% increase in school operating aid. He hailed his successes over the past two years to bring to $1.3B a budget gap that had been projected to be $17.4B for this year; to pass a state spending and local tax levy cap to reign in property taxes; and to improve educational accountability via adoption by 99% of NY’s school districts of APPR, the teacher/principal evaluation plan. Restoration of dollars to offset the GEA (gap elimination adjustment) and cuts to high tax aid are intended to distribute dollars to high-need areas.

With sensitivity for uncontrollable fluctuations in fixed costs, i.e. health and pension, the Governor proposes a $203M one-time stabilization allocation which will be negotiated with the Legislature. Additionally, in response to the recommendations of the NY Education Reform Commission, he rolled out $75M worth of competitive grant programmatic initiatives for: full day prekindergarten, extended day/week/year learning time, community schools, high performance rewards, and early college high school programs.

There are key provisions that are laudable, and the overall 4.4% increase (averaging $300/student) in educational funding is welcomed. However, as we weigh the pros and cons of varying provisions,

there is concern for districts regarding funding shifts and for those that will be dependent on competitive grants and/or provided support for one year only.

Thank you for your advocacy!

Lana Ajemian, President
Reflect the past, Transform today, Inspire tomorrow!