N.Y. Schools, Taxpayers Wary of Tax Cap Budget Hits

Courtney Williams's picture
Friday, March 30, 2012

The proposed New York state budget being voted on in Albany this week includes the biggest increase in school funding in years.

But the applause is muted in many local school districts where educators and taxpayers are headed into a dicey two months coping with a new property tax cap as they prepare and vote on their own spending plans.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Senate and Assembly majorities drew raves from some school advocates when they agreed to spend 4 percent more this year on schools, an $805 million boost in aid that currently totals about $21 billion after three years of cuts or flat funding.

The state budget expected to be voted into law by Friday also includes a potential long-term fix for the annual conflict over school aid. Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos agreed on a law that ties expenses to the inflation rate, which is designed to drive similar annual increases in future years.

"Governor Cuomo and the state Legislature earn straight A's for a school funding increase, an on-time state budget and two-year predictability," said Timothy Kremer of the state School Boards Association. "Still, many school districts will continue to face dire local budget consequences this year and into the future."

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