Volker Announces Senate Passage Of Education Budget Bill

William T. Stachowski

March 31, 2005

(Albany, NY) Senator Dale M. Volker (R-I-C, Depew) today announced Senate passage of the Education Budget Bill that provides $24.6 billion, reflecting an increase of $848 million in formula driven and other educational assistance to schools across New York State. The Budget adds $322 million to the Governor’s proposed $526 million increase over last year.

"The State Senate continues to make historic investments for our children in order to for them to reach their personal and professional goals," said Senator Dale M. Volker. "This legislation will also protect our school taxpayers by continuing the current STAR program. By doing so, taxpayers will continue to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars off their school tax bills and allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money. Our Budget Bill also restores millions of dollars for our public libraries, which play a pivotal role in many of our communities."

The new budget’s aid plan would give schools the resources they need to successfully educate our children by providing $848 million in additional school aid funding, including the following additional funding:

-Flex Aid (+$180 million)-- This budget accepts the Executive’s additional operating aid proposal which provides a minimum wealth adjusted increase for all districts from .5 percent to 2.5 percent. In addition, it provides $30 million in additional operating aid to the poorest school districts in the State.

-Special Education Funding (+$75 million)-- The Senate fully restores private excess cost aid and fully funds public excess cost aid;

-BOCES and Special Services Aids (+$42 million)-- The Senate fully restores BOCES and Special Services Aid;

-Building Aid (+$50 million)-- The Senate rejects Executive proposals and makes other provisions to ensure that school construction projects are properly funded;

-Tax Limitation Aid (+$87 million)-- The Senate accepts the Executive’s proposal for Tax Limitation Aid and adds additional funding for school districts which make a strong effort on educational spending.

Present Law funding is provided for Transportation Aid; Growth Aid; Full Day Kindergarten; Universal Pre-K; Class Size Reduction; Instructional Materials Aid, Teacher Support Aid, Centers and Mentor Intern Program; Categorical Reading; Improving Pupil Performance; Magnet Schools; and Bilingual Education.

Protecting Taxpayers

The budget provides $20 million in additional funding for the School Tax Relief program (STAR) by rejecting the Executive’s proposed STAR cap. STAR in total amounts to $3.02 billion.

Other Education Aid Highlights

The Senate’s 2005-06 education budget bill provides also additional funding for the following:

-Public Libraries Operating Aid ($4.4 million);

-Public Television and Radio ($692,000);

-Primary Mental Health Project ($970,000);

-Extended Day School Violence Prevention ($1.5 million);

-PEER Intervention Program ($500,000);

-National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification Program ($500,000);

-Independent Living Centers ($536,600);

-Supported Employment program ($618,000);

-Apprenticeship Training ($265,300);

-Consortium for Workers Education ($1.15 million);

-Transferring Success ($31,400);

-Workplace Literacy ($199,500).