New York State School Boards Association

LEGISLATURE PASSES 2015-16 SPENDING PLAN - ADVOCACY ALERT


March 31, 2015

Late last night, the legislature voted on the 2015-16 state budget enacting a $142 billion total spending plan with more than $23 billion in total education spending, a $1.3 billion formula aid increase over last year. The school aid growth includes $603 million in GEA restoration and $428 million in additional Foundation Aid. At first glance, it seems clear that many of the state aid distribution principles advocated for by NYSSBA were included in this year’s school aid package.

 

NYSSBA staff is hard at work analyzing the bills and the financial information released and will follow up with a full analysis as quickly as possible.

 

However we did not want to let the night go by without sharing some initial information about what was included and what was not.

 

Education Policy and Reform 

This budget is a mix of proposals, some NYSSBA supported and some that NYSSBA strongly opposed.

 

We are working through the details; however, our initial read indicates that the final deal includes:

  • An expansion of the educator probationary period from 3 to 4 years.
  • Clarification of the right to remove probationary employees.
  • Improvements in the 3020-a disciplinary system including the requirement that all hearings be conducted by a single hearing officer.
  • A school receivership system that allows superintendents to have the first chance at school turnaround.
  • An extension of the moratorium on building aid recalculation through the next school year.
  • An overhaul of the APPR system, including the required use of independent evaluators.
  • A link between the adoption and certification of updated teacher evaluations by November 2015 in order to be in the receipt of a school aid increase.

You can view NYSSBA's statement in opposition to this linkage here:

Joint Statement from NYSCOSS and NYSSBA on Teacher Evaluations

 

At this time, it appears that key issues such as funding for career and technical education expansion, funding for English language learners and unaccompanied minors and funding for special act school districts were not included.

 

However, damaging proposals such as the creation of a charter school building aid program, the Education Tax Credit and a single bond vote day also appear to be eliminated.

State Aid 

Earlier today, the New York State legislature released the 2015-16 district-by-district school aid runs, based on a budget agreement approved by both houses later in the day. While individual district figures will vary, total formula-based aid increased by nearly $1.3 billion over current 2014-15 school year levels to $23.057 billion.

 

The largest portion of that increase, $603 million, will be distributed as Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) restoration. The runs also indicate that Foundation Aid will increase by more than $428 million, for a $15.86 billion statewide total. The remaining $269 million will fund increases in expense-based aids, including building, transportation, BOCES and special education aids.

 

  • School Aid Increase - $1.3 billion

o       GEA Restoration - $603 million

o       Foundation Aid increase - $428 million

o       Expense-based aids - $269 million

 

You can view your district aid figures here:

2015-16 State Aid Projections

 

We will have more comprehensive information regarding all parts of the budget, including the various education policy proposals, in the days to come. Please join us for our budget webinar next week.


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