So the New York State Senate passed the 2013-14 budget this morning, finishing at about 4:30 a.m. The Assembly will reconvene and act tomorrow. Overall education aid increase is $936 million, or a 4.7 percent increase. Lawmakers re-allocated $203 million in fiscal stabilization funds and added $184 million above what the executive budget proposed. High tax aid of $69 million was restored. The amount schools have to pay toward the state deficit was decreased a bit (known as Gap Elimination Aid) and pension-smoothing will help those districts that decide to participate. There will be a two-year moratorium on any Building Aid interest rate recalculations. This could have cost districts $70 million over the next two years but now there will be no reduction this year or next.
Teacher Centers were funded at $14.26 million and funding for National Board Certification grants was increased by $250,000, to a total of $618,000. While Mentor-Intern funding was not increased, it did stay in the budget at $2 million.
Also, schools that lost instructional days due to Superstorm Sandy will not lose any state aid.
Will it be enough? Unfortunately, not for the Schenectady city schools. Here’s a link to their blog site, and it’s free. Perhaps, if Schenectady adopts pension-smoothing, it could help. Here’s more on some of the Capital Region schools.
Here’s a link from Newsday about Long Island schools. Here’s a link from the Post-Standard about how school districts in the Syracuse area fare. Please note that two districts, Westhill and Marcellus, still see a decrease in state aid. Here’s a link to just what the North Syracuse schools are facing, again not updated with the final figures, but it’s clear that even with the increase there will still be cuts to programs and positions. Again, hopefully, pension-smoothing could help.
Here’s a link to Westchester, Rockland and Putnam districts from lohud.com. Here’s a link specific to the choices facing the Wappingers school district. I would not want to be in their shoes. Sounds like either full-day kindergarten, an alternative high school or draining the fund balance.
Here’s good news about Kenmore-Tonawanda’s budget, allowing us to end on a good note. We will update as we get more links.