Budget proposal still short on Foundation Aid

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented an executive state budget proposal that includes a $769 million increase in overall funding for school operations in the 2018-19 school year.

Under the governor’s proposal, total school aid for 2018-19 would be $26.4 billion, which represents a statewide increase of 3 percent. Aid to Herkimer Central School District for 2018-19 would be $8,340,073, an increase of 1.4 percent over the previous year.

Breaking down the proposal

The bulk of the statewide funding increase would go toward three areas:

  • $338 million in additional Foundation Aid, which is the primary source of funding for everyday school operations
  • $317 million to reimburse districts for designated expenses such as transportation, construction and BOCES services; and
  • a $64 million Fiscal Stabilization Fund.

Foundation Aid still falls short

The governor’s proposed increase in education funding is less than half of the amount recommended by the Board of Regents and the Educational Conference Board (ECB), a coalition of the state’s major education groups.

Both groups also asked the state to fully fund and ensure equity in the Foundation Aid Formula. The formula was enacted in 2007 to ensure all school districts have the funding needed to provide students with a sound, basic education, but its phase-in was stalled during the recession. The state currently owes Herkimer Central School District close to $2 million in Foundation Aid, based on the formula, and the governor’s proposal does relatively little to close that gap.

What happens next

The plan put forth by Gov. Cuomo seeks to close an estimated $4.4 billion deficit for the state and to address uncertainties in federal funding and the impact of new federal tax rules.

The executive budget proposal is the formal beginning of budget negotiations between the governor and the New York State Legislature, with a final state budget due by April 1.

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