Education Budget Bills have passed both houses; School Aid run available

Monday, June 28th, 2010 at 4:36 pm by

This afternoon the Assembly and Senate passed appropriation and language bills for the education part of the state budget as outlined under the agreement announced by Legislative Leaders over the weekend.

The Assembly has posted a School Aid run reflecting the funding level and distribution under the agreement.  See it here.

The principle change from the Governor’s budget is that each district would have its lump sum “Gap Elimination Adjustment” reduced by 40 percent.

Passage in the Senate seemed at-risk for a time with some members of the narrow Democratic majority reportedly prepared to vote no to protest the exclusion of a property tax cap from the plan.

As I wrote yesterday, accompanying legislation places limits on how districts may use the School Aid restoration, requiring some to use the aid for property tax relief, while allowing others to use it to restore positions or services.

A disturbing element in both the approved bills and the Governor’s proposal is that they would freeze the data used to calculate aid for the 2009-10 school year based on what was on file at the time the Governor released his budget back in January.  In some cases, actual data is not available for aid calculations until later.  This action poses the threat that the state will seek to recoup tens of millions of dollars in aid already received by districts.

We will have more on the details of the education budget bills tomorrow.

Governor Paterson has threatened to veto additions to the budget, including those for School Aid, if the Legislature does not adopt some kind of contingency plan to cover a potential shortfall if Washington does not come through with approximately $1 billion in additional federal Medicaid funding.  That federal aid is seen as increasingly at-risk.

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