In a not completely unexpected move, Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed 2016-17 state budget contains a recommendation for funding of public education which falls woefully short of what independent analysts feel is needed to maintain current school services in our state, and an expenditure amounting to roughly a third of the funds promised to Long Island public schools through the Gap Elimination Adjustment.
While the budget includes a recommended $991 million (4.3 percent) increase in School Aid, that amount is roughly half the $1.7 billion that the New York State Educational Conference Board projected would be needed to maintain current school services.
The New York State Educational Conference Board (NYSECB) is a broad coalition of the state's major education organizations, uniting parents, teachers, school administrators and school board members to work together to enhance and improve the quality of education in New York State. THE NYSECB reached its budget recommendations based on an in depth analysis of school financial data and an estimate of the projected property tax cap. Most experts suggest that the tax cap law will likely set the tax cap levy increase for this spring's school budget votes at anywhere from .5% to as low as 0%.
Read more about reaction to the Governor's proposed budget in John Hildebrand's article in Newsday.
On the plus side, this year's budget proposals contain very few new policy proposals, unlike a year ago when changes to teacher evaluations, tenure, teacher discipline, and intervention in struggling schools where all folded into the Governor's economic plans. In his State of the State speech on January 13, the Governor essentially said he is accepting the report of his Common Core Task Force and leaving it to the State Education Department and Board of Regents to implement the recommendations.
Spokespeople from NYSUT, released the following public comments in cautious optimism about the Governor's proposed budget: "The tone and substance of Governor Cuomo's State of the State speech and 2016-17 Executive Budget for public education seem to be moving in the right direction, due to the strong response and advocacy of NYSUT rank-and-file teachers, school related professionals, and parents across the state."