Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a 3 percent state school increase in his 2018-19 executive budget released Tuesday, including a small hike for nine school districts in the Cayuga County area.
Under Cuomo's spending plan, the Auburn school district's foundation aid would increase by 1.38 percent to $30,194,277. While Auburn's total aid level is the highest in the area, the percentage increase is the third-lowest among the nine districts in the Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES system.
Union Springs Central School District would get the largest percentage increase. The executive budget would increase aid by 1.75 percent to $6,887,477 in the 2018-19 school year.
The percentage increases for the 2018-19 fiscal year would range from 0.25 percent to 1.75 percent. For the current 2017-18 school year, the percentage increases ranged from 2.74 to 4.40 percent.
Foundation aid is the base aid provided to school districts. It excludes other funding for programs, such as the state's Smart Schools Initiative, and capital investments.
Cuomo's budget proposal would increase total school aid statewide by $769 million, including $338 million more in foundation aid. He touted his record on education funding, which he says has increased by $6.8 billion, or 35 percent, since 2012.
One of Cuomo's main objectives this year is to provide more targeted aid to support poorer school districts. He said 70 percent of the aid would go to poorer districts.
"It's not enough to give funding to the poor districts," he said Tuesday. "You have to make sure the money goes to the poorest schools in the poorer districts. And right now we have no idea where the money is going ... And we should mandate that they have a formula that also mirrors our formula sending the money to the poorer schools."
Cuomo's budget proposal received mixed reviews from education stakeholders, including the state Department of Education and Board of Regents.
In December, the Board of Regents requested a $1.6 billion aid increase, including $1.25 billion more in foundation aid. The executive budget falls well short of the Regents' proposal.
State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa said they are "concerned" with the governor's state aid proposal.
"We need to invest in the education of all New York students," Elia and Rosa said in a joint statement. "The Regents state aid request would ensure schools continue to improve and better prepare our children while also acknowledging the state's fiscal realities."
Jasmine Gripper, legislative director of the Alliance for Quality Education, called Cuomo's aid request "pitiful."
"This would not even be enough to prevent classroom cuts across the state and totally fails to address equity," Gripper said.
State school aid levels will be determined in the final state budget. State legislators typically advocate for more state aid, especially for schools in their districts.
Cuomo and legislators hope to finalize the 2018-19 state budget before April 1, which is the beginning of the new fiscal year.