FOR RELEASE: January 16, 2018
CONTACT: David Albert
The governor’s budget proposal would constrain the ability of school board members to do the jobs they were elected to do.
The proposed school aid increase is simply inadequate to meet the needs of students – many of whom have special needs that require significant resources. To put school funding needs into perspective, the governor’s proposed $288 million increase in unrestricted foundation aid is about one-fifth of the $1.4 billion increase in foundation aid requested by NYSSBA.
The governor’s budget is also restrictive. Set asides for community schools and requirements to devise equity formulas to distribute funds within school districts all erode the discretion of locally elected school board members.
Approximately $200 million – almost 70 percent – of the governor’s proposed foundation aid increase will be absorbed by Teacher Retirement System contributions. Ironically, for many years, we asked lawmakers to allow schools to create a TRS reserve. Had lawmakers passed this legislation, schools could have put aside funding to plan for these rising pension costs in years when rates went down.
We are concerned about the vast implications of setting up charitable funds for public education or establishing a payroll tax. While we don’t yet know the details of these proposals, school districts need a dependable, predictable funding stream.