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Education watchdog head gives Governor’s school aid proposal a ‘C’

School districts around Central New York are busy poring over budget numbers in the Governor’s spending plan.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - School districts around Central New York are busy poring over budget numbers in the Governor’s spending plan.

Gov. Cuomo’s budget address on Tuesday contained what he said was a 4.4 percent increase in school aid.

The head of the Statewide School Finance Consortium says he has assigned the education aid in Cuomo’s budget with a grade of “C.”

“There’s some equitability elements to it. There’s some attempt to help the poorest districts. Again, I would rely on this idea, it may not be sufficient enough to help as many as need the help,” Rick Timbs said.

Timbs says that the school system doesn’t simply need more money, it needs money to be distributed differently.

He also says that the increase Cuomo claims is in the budget is illusory. General aid would increase by 3 percent – which is less than last year’s general aid increase. One percent is made up of money to help districts deal with exploding pension costs.

The remainder of the increase Cuomo wants earmarked for new initiatives he outlined in his state of the state address.

Timbs said that one thing lacking from the Governor’s budget is mandate relief. He says mandate relief would help as much as more aid.

High-need school districts will receive 75 percent of the increase in school aid in the Governor’s budget.

The Syracuse City School District would see more than $7 million than it receives in the current budget.

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