New Your State School Boards Association

NYSSBA to Legislature: Shift competitive grants to operating aid


FOR RELEASE: January 23, 2012

CONTACT: David Albert
(518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell
On Twitter: @nyschoolboards

Lawmakers should scrap the governor’s plan for $250 million in competitive grants and instead distribute those funds to high needs school districts, the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) said today in testimony to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

“Shifting the governor’s proposed $250 million grant program toward further reduction in the Gap Elimination Adjustment would do a great deal in rescuing many of our school districts from the brink of educational insolvency,” said David Little, NYSSBA’s director of governmental relations, who pointed out that districts are now operating under a property tax cap for the first time and facing the loss of $353 million in federal education funds after the 2011-12 school year.

“We are particularly appreciative of the majority of additional aid being targeted toward high need districts that find themselves teetering on a fiscal abyss,” he added.

NYSSBA praised many aspects of the governor’s budget proposal, including his call for a new state pension tier and efforts to reform the teacher disciplinary process, although NYSSBA recommends using state hearing officers to conduct hearings and other efficiency reforms rather than shifting the cost of hearings to districts and employees. 

NYSSBA expressed concern over the governor’s plan to withhold state aid from local school districts until they have implemented a new teacher evaluation system.  “The law creating APPR was fundamentally flawed in its requirement of collectively bargaining what had previously been a management prerogative,” said Little. 

NYSSBA also called for lawmakers to add mandate relief beyond pension reform.  The testimony noted that 16.3 percent of school budgets are spent on mandates. 

“Significant mandate relief – such as Triborough reform, removal of barriers to health insurance cooperatives, help with energy conservation, a Wicks Law exemption, and procurement flexibility – would provide significant fiscal relief,” urged Little.

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Editor's Note: The full text of NYSSBA's testimony can be found on our website at www.nyssba.org

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