Schools hoping for more state aid could see a boost in funding from New York State compared to recent years. Governor Cuomo told The Capitol Pressroom’s Susan Arbetter that education aid in the 2014 budget could increase four percent. He adds that working out what’s fair for each city and school system is the job of the state legislature:
The debate will continue. Central New York advocates of equitable funding for education suggest any increase in education aid pales in comparison to previous $8.4 billion in cuts over the past four years, plus continued inequity. Rick Timbs is Executive Director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium, and says the Tax Relief Commission’s recent recommendations only make matters worse by simply not addressing what districts are owed.
Timbs says any talk of a surplus doesn’t make sense when the school districts are owed $1.6 billion because of gap elimination, current state aid cuts, and the fact that $5 billion of the current foundation aid formula hasn’t been funded. Cuomo estimates that if New York agrees to stay right around the two percent spending cap, there could be additional aid for education, as well as housing, Medicaid and other issues. There may also be a budget surplus of up to $2 billion, which he’s considering using for property tax relief.