Sixty-nine percent of the state’s 672 school districts would begin the 2014-15 school year with less state aid than in 2009-10 year, the state’s largest teacher’s union said in a report today.
“The raw numbers tell a story of pain that is playing out in virtually every community,” Richard Iannuzzi, the president of the New York State United Teachers union, said in a statement.
Cuomo would increase school aid by $800 million in his proposed budget, up 3.8 percent. School groups wanted $1.9 billion, nearly a 10 percent hike.
Cuomo’s secretary Larry Schwartz said Cuomo has increased school aid at the rate of personal income growth. New York spends the most per capita on education in the country, he said.
“The governor is a pro-education governor, but he’s also a pro-tax-cut governor. He’s a pro-jobs-growth governor,” Schwartz said today on “The Capitol Pressroom,” a public radio show.
Based on current funding, the Albany School District is still 4.1 percent, or $3.6 million, below its state aid level of five years ago, NYSUT’s report said.
It said Vestal, Broome County, gets state aid that is 10.7 percent, or $2.6 million, less than five years ago.
Mount Vernon in Westchester County is receiving $7.5 million, or 9.3 percent, less in state aid than in 2008-09, the report said. It also said that Fairport, Monroe County, is getting nearly 10 percent less.
UPDATE: In a statement, Cuomo’s office raised concerns with the NYSUT analysis, noting that 90 percent of the schools receiving less aid now have fewer students than they did five years ago.
“The Governor’s priority is providing education funding based on the number of students it helps, not growing the education bureaucracy to serve the demands of the special interests,” Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said. “It makes no sense to provide more funding to school districts that now have less students based on a budget from six years ago. The Governor’s budget increases state education aid for the third year in a row, providing $807 million in increased education aid in addition to a $2 billion smart schools bond to create the classrooms of tomorrow in every school.”
Cuomo has increased school aid the past two years after aid was flat or decreased in several years prior because of the state’s fiscal woes. He would increase school aid to nearly $22 billion under his budget plan released Tuesday.
Here’s the breakdown by district via NYSUT: