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Not all area schools to see state aid windfall

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul delivers her first State of the State address in the Assembly Chamber at the state Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, Pool)

Not all area school districts are sharing in the state’s education spending spree because they are already fully funded according to the state’s Foundation Aid formula.

School spending is proposed to increase by $2.1 billion, a 7.1% increase, in the 2022-23 budget proposed by Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday. New York raised taxes on high earners and corporations last year with plans to use millions in new tax revenues to keep increasing the state’s share of school aid.

“We’re also going to invest in education, strengthening our teacher workforce and supporting students’ mental health,” Hochul said during her budget address. “We’ll provide more than $31 billion in aid for our schools. Continuing our commitment to fully fund education and foundation aid. And that brings us to the highest level the State has invested in education ever. And this should be used to continue expanding our pre-K program to school districts all across the state, and for much needed after school programs.

Some area school districts are poised to see large increases in state Foundation Aid. Districts receiving additional Foundation Aid include:

¯ Southwestern — $945,943 (11.73%);

¯ Frewsburg — $1,131,365 (13.81%)

¯ Dunkirk — $2,594,442 (10.94%

¯ Falconer — $1,431,551 (13.30%)

¯ Silver Creek — $1,321,926 (12.03%)

¯ Jamestown — $4,802,556 (9.06%)

¯ Gowanda — $783,103 (5.35%)

¯ Salamanca — $997,475 (6.23%)

¯ Sherman — $287,026 (5.31%).

Hochul is proposing a 3.1% spending increase in taxpayer dollars for her 2022 proposed budget, which would run from April through March 2023. The Democratic governor says the spending increase is just below the rate of inflation. Many area school districts are receiving Foundation Aid increases that are slightly less than the rate of inflation. They include:

¯ Cassadaga Valley — $370,065 (3%)

¯ Chautauqua Lake — $135,781 (3%)

¯ Pine Valley — $242,029 (3%)

¯ Clymer — $124,763 (3%)

¯ Bemus Point — $107,697 (3%)

¯ Forestville — $149,019 (3%)

¯ Panama — $202,478 (3%)

¯ Fredonia — $298,087 (3%)

¯ Ripley — $139,339 (3%)

¯ Brocton — $309,850 ( 3.88%)

¯ Randolph — $285,505 (3%)

¯ Westfield — $222,061 (3%).

“The proposed 7.1% school aid increase would provide $1.6 billion in additional foundation aid in 2022-23 and would enable individual school districts to direct the aid where it is needed most, while easing potential impacts on local taxpayers,” said Robert Schneider, New York State School Boards Association executive director. “By following through with a second year of the three-year foundation aid phase-in strategy, the governor has helped to assure school districts of consistent state support as they plan for the future. The minimum 3% foundation aid increase Gov. Hochul has proposed for districts already at full funding also is welcome as all districts face increasing costs.”

The Alliance for Quality Education, which has advocated for years for increased Foundation Aid to schools, approved of Hochul’s increases in both foundation aid and overall aid to schools, but called on the state Legislature to remove Hochul’s charter school tuition rates, which the AQE says could have a major impact on school choice in New York City.

The alliance also called on Hochul to do more to help those who need child care. Jacqueline Gripper, Alliance for Quality Education executive director, called on the state Legislature to pass legislation proposed by Sen. Jabari Brisport and Assemblyman Alan Hevesi (S.7595/A.8623) that would create universal child care by 2025 while also calling for an additional $5 billion to pay for it.

“Kathy Hochul positioned herself as a strong champion of child care, but now that she is governor and has the power to make universal child care a reality for New York, she is backpedaling on her commitment to support children and families,” Gripper said. “Based on today’s budget presentation, New York State is flush with cash, yet too few dollars are being allocated to increase access and quality child care. New York’s child care infrastructure is in crisis. Families and providers cannot continue to wait for relief. Since March 2020, over 1,500 providers in New York have permanently closed their doors increasing the number of child care deserts.”

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