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Council Provides Testimony to the Legislature on Governor Cuomo's Proposed Budget for Schools

January 28, 2021

Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
C:  518.435.5996
E:  boblowry@nyscoss.org

Albany, NY - Today, the State Legislature’s fiscal committees are holding their annual hearing on the Governor’s proposed budget for education. Robert Lowry, the Council’s Deputy Director for Advocacy, Research, and Communications will be testifying.

Here is the written testimony that we submitted in advance of the hearing.

The testimony emphasizes these points:

  • The 7.1% statewide increase in combined state and federal funding shown on aid runs is not representative of what most districts would experience. Half the state’s districts would receive increases of 2.1% or less, including nearly one-quarter that would suffer reductions in funding, notwithstanding the $3.8 billion in federal stimulus aid allocated on the runs. Over 70% of districts would have the federal allocations entirely offset by cuts in state support.

  • The budget indicates that the $1.3 billion cut imposed against STAR property tax relief reimbursements to school districts is intended to be recurring. This raises the question, what is expected to happen to STAR once federal aid is gone.

  • The proposal to consolidate 11 aid categories into “Services Aid” is alarming for multiple reasons. It would cut funding by nearly $700 million from what districts would receive under current law. The cuts are generally regressive, taking more per pupil from poorer districts. The proposal would obliterate one remaining strand of predictability in school revenues—there would be no way for districts forecast their Services Aid for the future.

  • We support the Regents legislative proposal to assure school districts are reimbursed through Transportation Aid for exceptional costs they incurred last year and this year while school buildings have been closed.  We also point out that this issue can overstate projected increases in total aid for 2021-22—if their estimated 2020-21 Transportation Aid is depressed.

  • We need to learn from the past, recognizing that the hardest budget choices have come when federal aid ends. So we recognize the need to raise state revenues and to secure federal fiscal relief for our state government.
 


Read our written testimony submitted in advance of today's hearing.

An Easier Way to Read Governor's School Aid Run

January 25, 2021

Questions? Contact:

Robert Lowry, Deputy Director
Greg Berck, Esq., Assistant Director
E:  advocacy@nyscoss.org

We have created an Excel spreadsheet which allows users to create an easier way to read School Aid run for any district. Reports will show estimates for Governor Cuomo’s 2021-22 proposed state budget.

Here is the link to access and to use the spreadsheet

It may take a while to load. Once it does, enter a district’s six digit BEDS Code to create a report. To look up a code for any district, click on the tab named “CODE LIST” at the bottom of the screen.

The upper section replicates what is shown on the state-produced runs, but with aid figures for 2020-21 and 2021-22 presented side-by-side, along with the year-to-year dollar change and percent change for each category. This makes it easier to identify which formulas are driving the overall increase or decrease in aid.

The lower section illustrates how the proposal to consolidate 11 aid categories into “Services Aid” would operate. Briefly, aid for each of the now separate categories would be calculated for 2021-22 as under formulas now in law. The sum produced would then be cut by a Services Aid Reduction factor. Although some districts show an increase in Services Aid from 2020-21 to 2021-22, every district would receive less under the proposal than it would from the existing separate formulas.

Please call or write to advocacy@nyscoss.org with any questions or suggestions.

 


Access excel spreadsheet allowing users to create an easier way to read Governor's School Aid run for any district.

Our Message About Events in our Nation's Capitol

January 7, 2021 - A Message to our members from President Robert Ike and Executive Director Charles Dedrick

Not since September 11, 2001, have many of us felt the same emotions as we felt during the horrific siege of our nation's capital yesterday. Thankfully at the end of the day our democracy prevailed.
  
Yesterday’s events provide us with teachable moments for our children in the way our electoral college performs. The fact that an African-American minister and a Jewish journalist were elected to the United States Senate from Georgia reinforces democracy in action. 
  
Under normal circumstances, it would have been quite the historic day. The day was history-making, but for other more negative reasons as well. As schools reopened today, whether in person, remote or hybrid, we know that you as educational leaders are doing all you can to guide the school districts of New York to a better and more positive place than the one that was on display yesterday in Washington, D.C. by rioters. 
  
Our democracy not only survived, but we believe came through stronger and more united, as witnessed by the actions of the joint session of Congress at 3:30 this morning. As school district leaders we have the opportunity and obligation to help the children in our care to feel safe and to learn how to engage with others of differing viewpoints in respectful and peaceful ways. 
  
As superintendents, you are stewards of what are among the most democratic of all institutions. Our public schools are truly institutions of, by, and for the people. Our leaders are elected by and from the people they serve. Our employees have chosen careers committed to helping all children learn and thrive -- most have made it their life’s work. We serve all children - whatever their circumstances, wherever they come from, whenever they arrive. Our public schools are exemplars of everything that democracy makes possible. The opportunity to lead in this time should be a source of pride.
  
Our students are our future. Your care for them is ever critical at this time. Your care for each other is important. Your care for yourself is necessary. 
  
According to John Meacham, “In our finest hours...the soul of the country manifests itself in an inclination to open our arms rather than clench our fists.” Let today and the days to come include some of our finest hours. 
 
Robert Ike
Superintendent, Palmyra-Macedon CSD
NYSCOSS President

Charles Dedrick
NYSCOSS Executive Director
 
Read The Council's message to our members regarding events that took place on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC.

State Legislative Committee

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Committee PositionCommittee Member Contact InfoTerm StartTerm End
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PresidentDr. Robert R. Ike
Superintendent of Schools
Palmyra-Macedon CSD
151 Hyde Parkway Palmyra, NY 14522
7/1/20206/30/2021
Co-ChairDr. Joseph S. Famularo
Superintendent of Schools
Bellmore UFSD
580 Winthrop Ave Bellmore, NY 11710-4200 UNITED STATES
7/1/2018 
Co-ChairMr. Neil F. O'Brien
Superintendent of Schools
Port Byron CSD
30 Maple Avenue Port Byron, NY 13140
7/1/2013 
MemberMr. Michael J. Baumann
Superintendent of Schools
Newfane CSD
6273 Charlotteville Road Newfane, NY 14108
7/1/2013 
MemberMr. Patrick H. Brady
Superintendent of Schools
Massena CSD
84 Nightengale Avenue Massena, NY 13662
7/1/2013 
MemberDr. Lori S. Caplan
Superintendent of Schools
Watervliet City SD
1245 Hillside Drive Watervliet, NY 12189
7/1/2013 
MemberMr. Raymond Anthony Castellani
Superintendent of Schools
Webutuck CSD
194 Haight Road Amenia, NY 12501
7/1/2018 
MemberMr. Matthew Cole
Superintendent of Schools
Livonia CSD
PO Box E Livonia, NY 14487-0489 UNITED STATES
9/19/2016 

Your Advocacy Team

 

Robert Lowry, Jr.
Deputy Director, NYSCOSS
BobLowry@nyscoss.org
Greg Berck, Esq.
Assistant Director, NYSCOSS
Greg@nyscoss.org

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