School Aid runs to be posted this afternoon. So they say. UPDATED

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 at 2:16 pm by

Numerous sources have been reporting that School Aid runs will be available sometime this afternoon.

But they have yet to materialize.

As soon as they do, we will post them.

UPDATE (5 pm):  This could take awhile.  Given where internal processes are in each house, education budget bills may not come up for votes until late this evening or tomorrow, delaying the likely availability of School Aid runs.

The Assembly and Senate are working their way through the process of passing the dozen or so pairs of bills (one for each house) which make up the state budget.

The amended Aid to Localities bill, which contains appropriations for School Aid and other education programs has yet to be released, nor has the “language bill” covering education.

The latter bill details changes in aid formulas and other programmatic requirements so that spending levels prescribed in laws will conform with what the appropriations will support.

In a Monday post, I summarized the agreements between the Governor and Legislature covering education.  We expect that the actual budget will be consistent with what the leaders announced on Sunday and Monday.  But many details remained unresolved when I wrote on Monday.

To be literally on-time, all bills would need to be passed by midnight Thursday.  The Senate is promising to pass all the bills today.  The Assembly reportedly will not stay through the night tonight, but would reconvene Thursday morning to approve whatever remains undone.

Last evening I was on local television, discussing the budget and its impact on schools.  I had to strike a balance between gratitude and realism.

I know from experience, first from inside state government and now on the outside, that every year Legislators say “no” to many requests from other deserving groups in order to say “yes” to schools to whatever extent they do.  That is true again this year.

At the same time, by adding a reported $230 million to School Aid, the Legislators have reduced the cut from $1.5 billion to $1.3 billion.  Measured in dollar terms, it will still be the largest cut in School Aid ever enacted (there have probably been larger percentage cuts).

There have been reports on the regional distribution of the $230 million, and of the remaining cut.

But the essential problem is that, no matter how wisely or fairly the $230 million restoration is sliced-up, it remains a challenge to feed 676 districts from a small pie.  For an average district, the cut would be reduced from 7.1 percent to 6.1 percent.

While we wait for details on the final budget, the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) and partners are attempting to stage a camp-in at the State Capitol, seeking to have hundreds of people stay in the Capitol overnight, to protest budget cuts and the failure to extend the so-called “millionaire’s tax.”

They have clogged the Capitol, drawn an impressive State Police presence, and led regular lobbyists to scram.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver reportedly has not given up on gaining an extension of the millionaire’s tax before the end of the legislative session in June.

Assembly Education Committee Chair Catherine Nolan told reporters  on Monday, “I didn’t see a stake through its heart.”  The Assemblywoman led two-thirds of her Democratic colleagues in petitioning to preserve the tax to reduce cuts to schools.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 at 2:16 pm and is filed under Finance, State Budget. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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