ALBANY – Schools in the 57th Senate District will be boosted with increases totaling nearly $22.2 million, or an average 4.37 percent, in additional aid from the state, announced Senator Catharine Young, (R,C,I-Olean).
Statewide, total education aid is increased by $805 million over last year in the state budget. The 45 schools in the 57th Senate District, which includes all of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany and half of Livingston counties, will receive more than half a billion dollars, totaling $530,802,964 in state assistance.
Operating aid was raised by about $14.5 million, or almost 4 percent. When operating aid is combined with expense-driven aids such as transportation and BOCES costs, the number exceeds more than $22 million in extra funding.
These local final budget numbers are nearly $6 million more than what the Governor proposed in his original budget plan in January.
The budget agreement prompted the New York State School Boards Association to a issue a statement that said “Governor Cuomo and the state Legislature earn straight As for a school funding increase, an on-time state budget and two-year predictability.”
Senator Young said, “We advocated hard for our rural districts, and as a result, 71 percent of the school aid increase goes to high needs districts. High needs rural districts received the highest increase per pupil, with an average $472.90.
“The final budget plan followed the recommendations by the Senate, which directed more of the additional aid to rural, poor and high needs districts than any of the competing proposals from the Governor or Assembly Majority. We also achieved the top priority of educators to redirect $200 million of the Governor’s challenge grants to more direct aid,” Senator Young said.
“My biggest priority was to help our rural schools. Last year, I joined with several other upstate Senators to write the Governor, asking for more consideration for rural schools. I am glad that he listened,” she said.
“It has been a challenging year, especially since the state had to solve a $2 billion budget deficit. But education is a priority, and that is why we increased school aid,” she said.
“I work hard to be accessible to my district and listen, so I have met repeatedly with teachers, school boards, superintendents and parents during this budget process. While we always want even more aid for education, this budget is a step forward in the right direction,” she said.
“Some of our schools still may face difficult choices because of factors such as declining enrollments and the loss of temporary federal stimulus dollars. I will continue to push for creative solutions to help, including passing legislation to establish regional high schools or allowing for more sharing of services,” Senator Young said.