State's school aid increase has critics, supporters

Jan 23, 2013

Education advocates say Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to increase school aid 4.4 percent in the next fiscal year falls short of what is needed.

The Alliance For Quality Education says the state is still far behind what it's obligated to pay under a landmark court ruling six years ago and the group predicts another round of difficult cuts by schools.

The AQE Wednesday called the increase "inadequate to prevent more classroom cuts."

But State School Boards Association Executive Director Timothy Kremer tells WBFO News Cuomo's proposal is a good starting point.

NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy Kremer

"I'm sure there will be some districts who will say that the increase that they're getting individually is not enough, but the fact that we're getting a $900 million increase and it's being used in some responsible ways, I'm feeling pretty good about that," Kremer said.

Kremer says the nearly $900 million dollar increase is more than he was expecting, but he says there may be strings attached.

Kremer warns against too much reliance on making districts compete for funding for new programs such as full-day pre-kindergarten, extended learning time, and community schools.

"There is money in here, for example, that is made available through some sort of a grant provision, be it a performance grant or some sort of state initiative," Kremer said. "Those are things you're going to compete for. They're only going to be made available to select few school districts. We kind of look at it as almost research and development for public education."

Kremer says while he is optimistic, the School Boards Association will take a wait and see approach.