State Budget Update, 2/16/18
The 2018-19 Executive Budget included various proposals that NYSASBO opposes. We have expressed our concerns regarding these issues in our testimony at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Education as well as in discussions with state legislators and staff. We will continue to bring attention to the negative impacts of various proposals in the Executive Budget and keep you informed as developments unfold.
Expense-Based Aid Caps
PROPOSAL: The Executive Budget proposes a 2% cap on growth in district-level BOCES and Transportation Aid as well as a statewide 2% cap on growth in Building Aid. This proposal would shift nearly $115 million to school districts.
UPDATE: The proposal to cap Building, Transportation and BOCES Aid was a popular topic discussed at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Education where state legislators expressed a great understanding of the issue and shared their concerns. Legislative opposition to this proposal was confirmed in later meetings with staff from the Assembly and Senate.
Prior Year Aid Caps
PROPOSAL: The Executive Budgeteliminates prior year aid adjustments.
UPDATE: The Governor’s proposal to eliminate prior year aid adjustments has historically been included in the Executive Budget and rejected by the Legislature.
Expansion of MWBE
PROPOSAL: The Governor's proposal included the expansion of the State's Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) program to school districts. Projects with estimated costs of $50,000 or more would be required to make a good faith effort in complying and school districts would be responsible for developing proper goals for participation with MWBE's.
UPDATE: This proposal creates a new unfunded mandate on school districts as higher costs would be realized directly on procurements and as well as on administrative expenses. School districts would effectively lose control of their capital projects, as the State would not only determine the MWBE goal for contracts, but would also determine when or if a good faith effort had been made toward achieving the goal and a contract award could be made. NYSASBO has sent letters to both the Senate and Assembly opposing this proposal and we are collaborating with other organizations to defeat this ill- conceived proposal. Letter can be found here.
In addition, NYSASBO is working on a number of other issues important to our members:
Building Aid Amnesty – NYSASBO has put together a coalition of approximately 12 districts that have been penalized $80 million for late/incomplete Final Cost Reports (FCR) prior to the 2011 change. We have secured support by legislators to send joint letters to the Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader asking that either a full or partial amnesty be included in the Legislature’s one-house budget proposals. The Building Aid Amnesty sign on letter can be found here.
Medicaid Client Identification Numbers (CIN) – In March 2017, SED discontinued its contract with the Central NY RIC to perform service to districts in matching students with their Medicaid CIN’s. NYSASBO’s Medicaid Task Force is working to find a short-term remedy to fill this gap in service until the NYS Department of Health (DOH) develops a more permanent replacement mechanism. We have reached out to DOH and state Legislators urging them to consider short-term remedies and expedite a long-term solution to this issue which is resulting in the loss of Medicaid funding for districts across the state. Letters to legislators and DOH can be found here and here.
Farm to School Initiative - NYSASBO is working with other groups to secure an increase in school lunch reimbursement from the current 6 cents to 25 cents for those districts that meet a 25-30% threshold in purchasing products from local New York sources. The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets has asked us to gather information from our members on the best way to implement this Executive Budget proposal. The survey on this issue can be found here.
Small Group Employer Definition
NYSASBO continues to work to find a permanent solution to this issue that would force school districts with 51-100 employees to leave their health insurance consortiums for the community rated pools. NYSASBO has proposed excluding school districts from small group definition and grandfathering those public entities currently in health insurance consortiums.
NYSASBO’s Government Relations Committee is meeting in Albany on March 12th for our annual Advocacy Day where we will continue our conversations regarding these concerns as well as discuss our 2018 Legislative Priorities with state legislators.
NYSASBO put together an analysis on the impacts of the Federal Tax changes on Public Education. The Policy Analysis can be found here.