Friday, March 7, 2014
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
It's worth noting that the amount Cuomo has "found" in the budget for pre-K will not nearly cover the costs, and that he has "found" it while continuing to shortchange public schools through the gap elimination adjustment.
"Tax-the-rich" populism is nothing new in NYS, of course. It's been our local assemblywoman's clarion call throughout her term, and it's a fond dream of many Assembly Democrats. But none of them has put his or her mouth where the money is the way de Blasio did right out of the box. Fun to watch. Although I am a longtime fighter for pre-K (and brought it to Dryden after a decade of fussing), I do think we need to fund K–12 first. But if NYC can get a functioning program solely through a single tax, more power to them.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
I also managed to get our agenda included in the County Dems packet:
Advocating for Our Schools in State Budget Season
1. ELIMINATE THE GEA The Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) was established in 2010 to help the state close its budget deficit. It spread the funding shortfall around all school districts through a GEA reduction to foundation aid due to schools. Since 2010, Dryden Central Schools have lost $11 million that was promised to them by the new school finance formula. Trumansburg has lost $7 million. Ithaca has lost $17 million. The governor’s 2014-15 budget does nothing but lessen the cut; it does not come close to restoring funds. Districts get less state aid today than they got in 2008. Most in this region have used up substantial reserves to stay afloat.
2. DISTRIBUTE DOLLARS FAIRLY
New York State ranks in the mid-forties among all states when it comes to fairness in distributing dollars to districts. The funding of schools is regressive. Wealthy communities receive a level of state aid that is disproportionate in terms of need. Yes, the poorest school in NYS receives 8 times the aid of the richest. However, the richest school is 14 times wealthier than the poorest school. The inequity continues. The schools won the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit in 2003, but the new Foundation Aid Formula has never been fully implemented. The state has been out of compliance ever since. Aid distribution must align with a community’s actual ability to support its schools—it must take poverty and local taxation into account. The governor’s budget simply tightens the tax cap, ensuring that districts cannot make up the difference with local dollars, even if they have the money.
3. FUND STATE MANDATES—OR STOP IMPOSING THEM
Legislators like to make laws. It’s part of their job. Every year, they make more and more laws to guide schools in their daily operations. Of the 151 mandates that offer the greatest challenges to school districts in cost and time, 69 percent are entirely unfunded. Districts must pay for them either by raising local taxes or by cutting programs or personnel. Well-intentioned mandates threaten non-mandated, high-priority programs and services in local school districts. The governor created a Mandate Relief Council that met several times in 2012, issued two reports, and solved, really, nothing at all.
All figures from Statewide School Finance Consortium and CNYSBA.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
LATER: Cooler heads prevailed, and the KS Senate rejected this.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Well, guess what. The year 2008 was a fiscal nightmare in NYS, and the state decided that all bets were off, lawsuit or no lawsuit. The result has been that in our region, no school today has the level of state funding it had back in 2007, much less the additional monies promised by the reform act. Via the so-called Gap Elimination Adjustment, the state saw fit to fill its own budget gap by taking money from the schools, again in a way that caused more damage to poorer schools and less to richer schools. Our major request to the legislature this year is to kill the GEA. After all, the governor now claims we have a surplus!
Enter the CFE again, or at least its erstwhile leader, Michael Rebell, who is a real hero. His new organization, New Yorkers for Students' Educational Rights, has launched another suit. Stay tuned, perhaps for another 20 years.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
I think it's fair to say that not only does O receive a poorer education than I did in Ithaca a million years ago, but she also receives less than she would have in her own district a dozen years ago.