Cayuga County-area school districts will benefit from a $3 billion aid increase in the final 2021-22 state budget.
There is $10 million more in state aid for the nine districts, which include seven in Cayuga County and two — Jordan-Elbridge and Skaneateles — in neighboring Onondaga County.
The Auburn Enlarged City School District will receive 8.06% more in state aid than it got in the 2020-21 fiscal year. The district's total aid will rise from $45,430,932 to $49,093,130 — a $3.66 million increase.
Auburn will receive $1.47 million more in foundation aid, which is the primary funding source for school districts. While every other Cayuga County-area school district is getting 3% more in foundation aid, Auburn's will rise by 4.71%.
The increases in total aid for local school districts vary, with Skaneateles receiving the largest hike (16.52%) — from $6,670,464 in 2020-21 to $7,772,287 in 2021-22. Jordan-Elbridge will also see a double-digit aid spike — from $16,920,647 to $19,047,950, a 12.57% increase.
In Cayuga County, Weedsport will receive the largest aid increase (5.68%) outside of Auburn. The district in the northern part of the county will get $581,426 more in state aid — $10.8 million, up from $10.2 million last year.
Southern Cayuga will get 5.46% more in aid — total funding of nearly $10.8 million — and Cato-Meridian will receive a 5.36% increase to $15.7 million.
Rounding out the school districts in Cayuga County are Port Byron ($15.1 million, a 4.64% increase), Moravia ($14.7 million, a 4.24% hike) and Union Springs ($10.8 million, a 2.13% increase).
The increased school aid is one part of a victory for education advocates. There is also a commitment to fully fund foundation aid over the next three years.
It's a long-awaited achievement for stakeholders who have argued that New York schools, including Auburn and other Cayuga County-area districts, are underfunded.
"Generations of parents, community leaders and students across New York state, year after year, have led the advocacy to hold New York to the promise of a sound, basic education for every child," said Jasmine Gripper, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education.
Legislators also celebrated the victory. State Sen. John Mannion, a former teacher whose district includes a large chunk of the Auburn Enlarged City School District, said he's elated that school districts will get increased aid and that foundation aid will be fully funded.
During budget negotiations, Mannion said more school aid and fully funding foundation aid were high priorities. He added that it was important for the state to supplement, not supplant, more than $12 billion New York schools received in two federal COVID-19 relief measures.
"The next step is we do need to address the (foundation aid formula), and that is still going to be a very high priority for me," Mannion said.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.