State Updates

2016-17 Executive Budget Analysis

Governor delivers State of the State and Budget Proposal

Governor Cuomo delivered his 2016 State of the State and Executive Budget Proposal on January 13 which outlined his agenda for the year. The governor proposed a $2.1 billion increase in education aid over two years. He emphasized that the proposed 2017 education budget of $25 billion would be the highest in New York’s history. The governor’s briefing book explains that the proposed increase would include $991 million in 2016-17 for a total of $24.2 billion.

The proposed $991 million increase for 2016-17 would include:

• $408 million in reimbursement for expense-based aids,
• $266 million for additional Foundation Aid,
• $189 million in Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) restoration,
• $100 million in community schools aid, 
• $22 million for the Empire State Prekindergarten Program for Three-Year-Olds,
• $4 million for Early College High Schools, and
• $2 million for QUALITYStarsNY.

He intends to fully restore Gap Elimination Adjustment funds over two years.

In its school aid proposal, NYSASBO recommended a $2.3 billion overall increase for education for 2016-17, including $900 million for Foundation Aid and $434 million to end GEA. The Educational Conference Board and the Board of Regents had similar proposals including a one-year end to GEA.

Of the governor’s proposed $100 million in community schools aid, $75 million would go to struggling and persistently struggling schools that are in receivership. “The remaining $25 million will be available to other high-need school districts statewide that do not have a failing or persistently failing school,” according to the briefing book. This $100 million is in addition to the Persistently Struggling Schools Grant that schools applied for in 2015.

The Executive Budget extends a provision of law regarding school safety to apply to expenses incurred in 2015-16. Under this law, certain safety system improvement expenditures are eligible for a reimbursement rate up to 10 percentage points higher than a district's current building aid ratio. The previous law had only applied to expenses incurred in 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15.

The governor proposed $150 million for the Parental Choice in Education Act. This program would include:
• $50 million in credits to support scholarships for low- and middle- income students to attend a non-public school or a public school outside of their district, and $20 million in credits to support public school educational improvement programs such as prekindergarten and after-school activities. Corporation franchise and individual taxpayers who make donations will receive a nonrefundable credit equal to 75 percent of their authorized contributions, up to a maximum annual credit of $1 million.
• $70 million in reimbursements to families with incomes below $60,000 per year for eligible tuition expenses paid to elementary and secondary schools in New York State.
• $200 tax credit to reimburse teachers for supplies that they have purchased, with an aggregate cap of $10 million.

Governor Cuomo said that he supports school choice, and his budget will include $27 million in per-pupil grants to charter schools for their further development. The Executive Budget unfreezes the charter school tuition formula in New York City and makes permanent the calculation of rental aid for New York City charter schools.

Governor Cuomo also included a $174 million increase to reimburse non-public schools’ costs for State-mandated activities. “The Budget also provides $125 million in extraordinary aid, first authorized in June 2015, to reimburse non-public schools for the costs of performing State-mandated services in prior years.”

The governor emphasized the need to bring back trust in the education system. He pointed out the flawed implementation of the Common Core as well as the high opt-out rate from testing, and signaled that he would leave it to the State Education Department to implement changes in line with the Common Core Task Force’s report.

The Executive Budget also provides the State Education Department with a continuation of $8.4 million that was enacted in the 2015 budget to reduce testing time.

Additional recommendations include:

• Extending mayoral control in New York City for three years.
• Applying Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) goals to local government contracts funded by state dollars.
• Paid family leave.

This is a NYSASBO staff summary. Sources include the State of the State address and the Budget Briefing Book available here. Links to School Aid Runs and further information about the Executive Budget can be found here

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