CONTACT: David Albert
On Sunday, New York State Director of the Budget Robert Mujica issued a statement alleging that local officials are not allocating school funds in a manner that is fair and equitable. Our response to Mr. Mujica’s claim is simple: Who do we want to decide local school budgets – state bureaucrats in Albany or local boards of education representing school district residents? Mr. Mujica did not mention that the governor’s budget proposal gives the state the right to punish school districts by withholding state aid if the state doesn’t like the way funds are allocated.
The New York State School Boards Association does not believe that the state should be empowered to override the decisions of school boards who directly represent the citizens impacted by those decisions.
We agree that school funding should be distributed in an equitable manner, with resources being directed to where they are most needed. In fact, beginning next year, school districts must report the per-pupil expenditures for each school for the preceding fiscal year. As a result, parents and taxpayers will have access to per pupil spending at every school within a district.
Of the billions of dollars spent on public education annually in New York, 55 percent comes from local taxpayers. Therefore, school boards, representing local taxpayers, should decide the most equitable way to allocate resources across all schools in the district.