There is good news for local school districts in the state budget being finalized in Albany. The agreement hammered out between Gov. Cuomo and lawmakers provides more than $21 billion in aid to education, an increase of nearly $1 billion.
All but one school district in Erie and Niagara counties will see an increase in state aid, with Buffalo Schools getting about three percent more.
Billy Easton of the Alliance for Quality Education calls the budget the best since 2008. He says the increased aid will help many districts avoid damaging cuts.
"Schools over the last four years have just taken withering classroom cuts and this budget is not enough to restore what's been cut, but it is enough that in most cases we think schools will probably be able to prevent making significantly more cuts," Easton said.
"This will prevent cuts to all kinds of things like art, music, advanced placement courses, extra tutoring for students. It may not prevent every cut that every district has to look at, but in most cases this will prevent a lot of cuts."
Buffalo, Amherst, Clarence and Sweet Home schools will each get about three percent more, while Sloan will enjoy an 11 percent increase in aid. In Niagara County, the average increase is nearly five percent.
Iroquois gets an eight percent hike and Hamburg and Grand Island schools are up more than seven percent.
State aid to East Aurora schools will decline about two percent because the district will not receive money it got this year for expanding to full-day kindergarten.
The State Assembly still must give final approval to the new state budget.