Governor Cuomo’s budget continues his crusade to erode local-level school decision making by proposing a state formula to determine funding for individual school buildings and making the tax cap permanent.
We appreciate the governor’s desire to direct funds to the neediest schools, but we disagree with the notion that a state formula devised in Albany can distribute funds to thousands of individual school buildings more fairly and effectively than the locally elected board of education in those communities.
While the governor proposes a $956 million dollar increase in school aid, it’s less than half of the $2.1 billion increase requested by the Board of Regents and falls far short of school district needs.
With the state behind by $4 billion in foundation aid payments, the conversation we should be having about school aid is how best to phase-in and fully fund the foundation aid formula, not how to create a new formula to re-distribute funds within school districts.
We need to find ways to encourage greater community engagement in local public schools, not give members of our communities fewer reasons to participate in school budget votes and board elections.
When you take away local decision making, you silence the voice of the community.