New Budget Boosts 2 Greene School Districts

James L. Seward

March 30, 2005

Senator James L. Seward announced today that the new 2005-2006 state budget being passed on time will include a provision that will boost the building aid ratios for the Windham-Ashland-Jewett and Hunter-Tannersville School Districts.

"This is direct help to local taxpayers who fund improvements and upgrades to their school buildings," Senator Seward said. "Because of the prevalence of second homes and resort areas, these districts look wealthy on paper and that drives down the amount of state aid available for their building projects.

"With the provision that I secured in the budget, the building aid ratio of these districts will be refigured and they will have two years -- until June 30, 2007 -- to secure voter approval for building projects in order to capture the new state building aid ratio," Seward added. Seward is a member of the Senate’s Education Committee.

Many rural school districts enjoy a high building aid reimbursement level from the state. Because of the income and property wealth profile of these two districts, their building aid ratio hovers around 10 percent. With Seward’s addition to the state budget, their building aid ratios should be approximately 30 percent.

"Many residents of WAJ have contacted me about their district’s buildings, and I have been working to get legislation to bump the building aid ratio to make sure the state picks up a bigger share of any voter-approved building project, which means property taxpayers will pay a smaller share than they would have without this provision," Seward concluded.

The change that benefits Windham-Ashland-Jewett and Hunter-Tannersville School Districts is in Senate bill 3667/Assembly bill 6841. It will be approved Wednesday or Thursday.