State Updates

NYSASBO Advocacy Day and One-House Budgets

NYSASBO Spring Leadership Conference – Advocacy Day

NYSASBO held its annual Spring Leadership Conference – Advocacy Day this past Sunday, March 13 and Monday, March 14Sunday’s line-up of speakers included Christina Coughlin, Coordinator of Educational Management Services at SED; Liz Benjamin, Host of Capital Tonight on Time Warner Cable News; and Senator John DeFrancisco, Deputy Majority Leader.

Senator John DeFrancisco, Deputy Majority Leader

On Monday, attendees heard from Jere Hochman, Deputy Secretary of Education to the Governor, before heading over to the Capitol to visit Assemblymember Cathy Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee and Senator Carl Marcellino, Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

Jere Hochman, Deputy Secretary of Education to the Governor

NYSASBO’s advocacy visits came at an auspicious time as both the Senate and Assembly were voting on their recently announced one-house budgets.  Details of the Education portion of these one-house budget bills/resolutions are outlined below:
Senate Version - full document can be found here:
Overall the Senate one-house budget provides for a school aid increase of a $1.655 billion for a 7.15 percent increase, an increase of $750 million over the Executive proposal; the Senate’s 2016-17 proposal provides for a total General support for public schools allocation of $24.8 billion.
In addition, the Senate proposal:
  • Increases Foundation Aid by $880 million over 2015-16;
  • Eliminates the $434 million in remaining GEA in the 2016-17 school year;
  • Fully funds $341.9 million in Expense-Based Aids;
  • In total operating support is increased by $1.3 billion or 8.3 percent; 
  • Accepts the Executive proposal to provide $27.4 million for grants in aid to Charter schools and adds an additional $27.4 million;
  • Adds $4.6 million in nonpublic school aid; 
  • Provides $4.1 million in additional funding for 4201 schools for the Blind and the Deaf;
  • Restores $56 million in STAR benefits as a result of rejecting the Executive proposal to cap STAR at 2015-16 levels;
  • Also rejects Executive proposal to convert STAR benefit into a refundable Personal Income Tax Credit for new homeowners;
  • Accepts the Executive recommendation to provide $4 million for early college high school and career and technical education grants;
  • Accepts the Executive recommendation to provide an additional $2 million for QUALITYstarsNY;
  • Denies the Executive proposal of $22 million in competitive grants for PreK for three year olds;
Concerning State Operations, the Senate concurs with the Executive maintaining $8.4 million for the release of standardized test questions and the reduction of field testing.

In addition, the Senate one-house budget:
  • Supports districts using education aid for conversion to community schools, expansion of full day kindergarten, and increased access to after school programs.
  • Directs the Education Department to update the need resource capacity index with current data
  • Encourages the State Education Department to consolidate all existing universal prekindergarten programs into one funding stream;
  • Extends the Property Tax Cap to New York City and makes it permanent;
  • Modifies the Contracts for Excellence program to apply only to New York City;
  • Denies the Executive proposal to freeze school districts’ aid claims;
  • Accepts the Executive proposal to allow school districts to apply for waivers from special education requirements that exceed federal requirements;
  • Increases the aidable salaries for teachers providing career and technical education services through BOCES to $50,000 over five years;
  • Creates the Office for Religious and Independent Schools with the State Education Department;
  • Repeals the 10-year building aid interest rate recalibration requirement;
  • Exempts school districts with enrollment of less than 5,000 students from internal audit function;
  • Requires public votes for capital projects (excluding emergency projects) to be held on the same day as the annual meeting and election;
  • Establishes a charter school building aid program;
  • Removes the sales tax from the purchase of school buses;
  • Provides for a new statewide school safety officer initiative to provide a school safety officer in each public or nonpublic school.
  • Creates a $150 million Education Investment Incentives Act that would provide a credit for donations made to schools and scholarship funds, including charter, public and private schools.
Assembly Version – full document can be found here:
The Assembly budget would provide an overall increase of $2.13 billion (9.2%) and:
  • Increases Foundation Aid by $1.1 billion;
  • Eliminates the GEA with $434 million of restorations;
  • Provides $807 million in funding for universal prekindergarten, an increase of $22 million over last year;
  • Provides a five-year financial assistance program for school districts offering new full day kindergarten;
  • Provides an additional $100 million for Community Schools Aid for school districts with struggling schools, for a total of $200 million;
  • Provides $10 million in new statewide funding for ELL Education in school districts with growing enrollment of students who are English language learners;
  • Provides $14.3 million for Teacher Resources and Computer Training Center funding for Transition to Digital Learning;
  • Provides $4 million for professional development of teachers;
  • Provides $10 million for Special Services Aid for CTE Programs and $10 million for BOCES CTE Programs to raise aidable salary cap from $30,000 to $34,000;
  • Continues one-year moratorium on building aid interest rate reset;
  • Provides $2 million to allow SED to replace its out-of-date State Aid System;
  • Provides $350,000 planning grant to SED to replace Facilities Planning Management System to more efficiently process school district capital projects.

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