Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed education aid directs roughly the same percentage increase of aid to wealthy and poor districts, according to an analysis by the Citizens Budget Commission.
Cuomo is seeking to increase total school aid by about $1 billion, or 4.3 percent, from $23.2 billion in 2015-2016 to $24.2 billion in 2016-2017.
The commission said the aid increase would about equal the growth cap the Legislature agreed upon in 2011, which tied aid increases to personal income growth. However, the organization pointed out that legislators are likely to boost Cuomo’s aid proposal to over the spending growth cap, as it has done during the last three years.
About 20 percent of the $991 million aid increase would be allocated to restoring money cut by the Gap Elimination Adjustment, according to a news release. All districts would have their GEA restored by at least 30 percent, with needier districts receiving more. More than $400 million of the increase would go to pay for reimbursement aids such as building expenses and transportation aid, which the CBC says favors wealthier, higher-spending districts. Another $100 million would go to failing school districts to provide social services throughout school buildings.
The most affluent 10 percent districts would receive an average aid increase of 4.9 percent per student, compared with 4.6 percent for the neediest 10 percent.
The CBC said the state should direct more resources to low-income school districts. Also, it said that the governor did not correct problems with the distribution of aid that provide generous allotments for transportation and construction aid.
“These fundamental issues with the aid formulas, as well as redirecting resources through Foundation Aid, should be addressed in the coming budget negotiations,” the commission said in a news release.
The Citizens Budget Commission is a nonpartisan organization, whose goal is to improve the finances and services of New York state and New York City government.