Friday, April 1, 2016

One Out of Four

My favorite take on this year's budget for education comes from CNYSBA, which says that they have always focused on the Adequacy, Equity, Predictability, and Sustainability of State Ed aid. The increase in Foundation Aid this year brings us a step closer to Adequacy, they point out, but the other three remain elusive.

The increase in Foundation Aid is $273M less than the School Board Association and other groups had hoped for, but it's still a sizable increase. And the Gap Elimination Adjustment is, finally, gone. Distribution remains inequitable. In our county, Trumansburg and Newfield show a negative change in aid if you figure in building aid—despite the $21K GEA payment Trumansburg gets to zero out that line. Groton gets the greatest percentage increase with building aid figured in. Lansing gets the greatest percentage increase without. Since I don't know whether any of the districts is using building aid (it's a good bet that none is using the Reorganization Incentive Building Aid, since none has reorganized), it's hard to draw conclusions from the runs. But leaving aside the building aid, the range seems to run from Newfield at $673K more than in 2015-16 to Ithaca at $2.85M more than in 2015-16. Still grossly unfair when you compare our schools to downstate schools, but better than it's been in a while.

Other good news: The "Parental Choice in Education Act" was shot down. An employee-funded paid family leave was included.

Other bad news: The tax cap is so low that increases will be consumed by rollover budgets. Another $54M is going to charter schools, although local shares will not go up.

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