The New York State budget passed by the senate and assembly last week will deliver more aid to Malverne and West Hempstead public schools in the 2012-2013 fiscal year than originally expected.
The state legislature passed its budget early on Friday but made some changes to the proposed executive budget presented by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in January. They successfully argued that funds budgeted by the governor for competitive performance grants for school districts should instead be allocated for general school aid. As a result $200 million was directed from performance grants to general aid.
"At a time when school districts are facing tough fiscal realities, the governor's proposal to budget $250 million for competitive performance grants, while in theory is a good idea, is misplaced," said NYS Assemblyman Brian Curran, who represents Malverne. "We need to direct all current available funds directly to state aid so that we provide school districts with the fiscal flexibility they needto deal with the tax cap. As a state, we can revisit the funding of competitive performance grants at a later date when fiscal pressures on our school districts have decreased."
The Republican Senate and Assembly delegations also fought for any redirected funds to be directly applied to a portion of the state aid formula that adversely affects school districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties, including Malverne and West Hempstead.
Under the governor's proposal, the Malverne School District was to see only a $198,277 increase in state education aid, according to Curran, but will now get $307,820, plus $50,000 in state grants.
"At a time when every dollar is important to the Malverne School District, I am happy that we were successful in significantly increasing the state aid to Malverne for the upcoming year," Curran added.
He also commended Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who represents Malverne and West Hempstead, for leading the charge to increase aid to Nassau County's schools.
West Hempstead is projected to see an aid increase of $172,560 over what was originally proposed in Cuomo's budget, according to West Hempstead Deputy Superintendent Richard Cunningham. That's a gain of $246,389 over the 2011-2012 state aid package, he said.
NYS Assemblyman Ed Ra, who represents West Hempstead, said, "I was proud to support the 2012-13 state budget, a fiscal plan that will not only keep but increase Long Island’s share of school aid."
The final budget contained an $805 million increase in state aid for education from last year. (According to Cunningham, an error in Nassau BOCES' data reporting will actually cause the cumulative total of state aid that Nassau County school districts receive this year to be $3,523,426 less than what is reflected in the state budget figures released last week.) The state budget also includes funding for a cyberbullying program, community colleges, public libraries and a statewide job creation program.
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