Gov. Andrew Cuomo is saying schools will have two options on aid this year: a 1.7 percent increase if the Legislature doesn’t agree to reforms or a 4.8 percent increase if it does.
He said schools should plan for the 1.7 percent increase.
“Here’s what they should do: Assume it’s the lower number, which is the legal number, which is the number they thought they were going to get last year because it was in the budget last year: 1.7 percent,” Cuomo told reporters in Rochester today.
In his budget proposal Jan. 21, Cuomo refused to release school-aid runs, which are historically provided with a governor’s budget. It’s an estimate of how much aid each district could receive in the state’s fiscal year that starts April 1, and it helps districts develop their spending plans in advance of their May budget votes.
But this year, Cuomo did away with the school-aid runs, saying districts won’t get anything above a 1.7 percent average increase if the Legislature doesn’t agree to his education reforms, which includes tougher teacher evaluations.
If the Legislature agrees, schools would get a $1.1 billion increase, instead of about $377 million.
Schools have cried foul, but Cuomo said those are the breaks.
“To give someone a budget run means to give them a number that they can expect from the next budget,” Cuomo said. “To do that, you need to know what the budget is – which we don’t know until we know what the Legislature decides what it wants to do.”
The state budget includes a clause that ties school aid and Medicaid spending to the rate of inflation, which is about 1.7 percent this year.
Anything above that would have to be negotiated by Cuomo and the Legislature, and in the last two years, school-aid increases have averaged between 4 percent and 5 percent — well above the inflation rate.