Superintendent Carl Mummenthey met with legislators last week to advocate for increased funding for the region’s K-12 schools. He and superintendents from throughout Schoharie County met with Senator James Seward (R,C,IP -51st), Assemblyman Peter Lopez (R-102nd), and representatives from State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s (R,C,IP -2nd) office to encourage them to retain and increase Foundation Aid in the state budget.
Foundation Aid is the unrestricted funding provided from the New York State budget to support public school districts.
The governor’s plan includes targeted funding to support high-need districts with community schools, pre-kindergarten and after-school programs, and discontinuing the use of the original Foundation Aid Formula in determining future state aid increases. Under the governor’s proposal, total school aid for 2017-18 would be $25.6 billion, which represents a statewide increase of 3.9 percent.
Under the Governor’s proposal, C-RCS would receive $21,570,127 in aid for the 2017-18 school year. This is a $302,759, or 1.42 percent, increase over last year.
Find a breakdown of projected state aid for each school district based on the governor’s proposal at https://www.budget.ny.gov/pubs/executive/eBudget1718/fy18localities/schoolaid/1718schoolruns.pdf.
Funding falls short of recommendations; Foundation Aid concerns
The governor’s proposed increase in education funding falls short of recommendations advanced this fall by the Board of Regents and the Educational Conference Board, a coalition of the state’s major education groups.
The Regents have called for an overall $2.1 billion increase in school funding for 2017-18, and ECB estimates $1.5 billion is necessary just to continue current school services next year.
Both ECB and the Regents called for the state to renew its commitment to Foundation Aid, the formula enacted in 2007 to ensure all school districts have the funding needed to provide students with a sound, basic education. As the recession affected state finances, the phase-in of Foundation Aid stalled and the state currently owes schools $4.3 billion in Foundation Aid based on the formula that is written into current law.
Gov. Cuomo’s budget proposal adjusts the Foundation Aid Formula to steer more funds to high-need districts. It also seeks to discontinue the provisions of the formula that call for it to be fully funded over time. Instead, beginning in 2018-19, districts would only be guaranteed the amount of Foundation Aid they receive in 2017-18, with any state aid increase to be allocated through a method that is to be determined.
This has prompted some education advocacy groups to raise concerns that the original intent of Foundation Aid – providing districts with adequate and predictable funding each year based on student needs – will never be realized.
“We stand with the ECB, the Regents, and countless editorial boards throughout the state when we say that a C-R education should be adequately funded by the state,” said Mummenthey. “I encourage our parents and community members to reach out to their elected officials to let them know that increased foundation aid must be included in the adopted state budget.”