Mix-up by state increases area school funds

Several area school districts will receive additional aid after a miscalculation by the state Education Department resulted in an incorrect allotment of Title IIA federal funding.

Mary Ellen Elia, state education commissioner, said the state gave too much money to 278 organizations, largely charter schools, while not giving enough money to 687 agencies. The incorrect allocation represented 7.8 percent of the $153 million the state was to distribute.

To fix the $12 million error, the state Education Department will reduce Title IIA funding for overpaid districts for the next few years. All but a handful of underfunded districts will get all of what they are owed this school year – their 2018-19 allotment plus up to $130,000 from last year.

The state will make up the shortfall for Buffalo, Rochester, East Ramapo and Syracuse over two years, and for New York City over four years. New York City schools were shorted about $7 million.

“The state Education Department regrets this unfortunate error and any undue burden it may place on schools,” Elia said. “We are taking immediate steps to correct it and ensure it does not happen again, including strengthening our internal controls. We will do everything possible to reduce the impact for all schools, including to reimburse 99 percent of districts this year.”

Area school districts will receive the following additional money in 2018-19:

¯ Bemus Point – $1,904

¯ Brocton – $2,831

¯ Cassadaga Valley – $5,107

¯ Chautauqua Lake – $5,106

¯ Clymer – $3,275

¯ Dunkirk – $14,087

¯ Falconer – $5,287

¯ Forestville – $1,760

¯ Fredonia -$4,764

¯ Frewsburg – $2,042

¯ Jamestown – $35,400

¯ Panama – $2,102

¯ Pine Valley – $3,706

¯ Randolph – $6,545

¯ Randolph Academy – $616

¯ Ripley – $1,779

¯ Sherman – $3,003

¯ Silver Creek – $3,745

¯ Southwestern – $4,832

¯ Westfield Academy and Central School – $2,628

The money may be used to provide all students with access to a well-rounded education; improve school conditions for student learning; and improve the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students. Based on individual needs, schools also may use the funding for Title IIA professional development activities.