Does Cuomo Budget Serve Local Education, Municipalities?
1/23/2013 (Updated 6:51:29 PM)(Source: Jason Weinstein)
Governor Cuomo is calling for an 889 million dollar bump in state spending on education, a 4.4-percent increase. The spending plan includes $20.8 billion for direct aid to schools, $203 million for districts struggling with growing costs like pensions, and $75 million for initiatives, such as expanding pre-kindergarten and the school day or year.
"This budget situation is better than what we have heard from the Governor's office in the past but it's still not adequate," said Allen Buyck, Superintendent of Broome-Tioga BOCES.
But Buyck says after factoring in competitive grants and the gap elimination adjustment meant to help eliminate the state deficit means more than half of his 15districts will see an increase in aid of under three percent, and three will get an aid increase of under one percent.
"I would not have the competitive grant piece. If that was the total dollar amount that was available I would distribute it in some equitable fashion to the school districts," said Buyck.
On mandate relief, the Governor's big proposal was to allow municipalities to borrow against future anticipated savings from the state's new Tier VI to it's pension program. Tier VI is a defined-contribution plan, like a 401-k, for new state workers, not a defined-benefit plan like the traditional pension.
"It seems to be a good idea. The devil is in the details. We'll see. But it's certainly good to see the Governor pay attention to that," said Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan.
Ryan suggests the state help municipalities with funds to offer workers early retirement. That is an idea Broome County Executive Debbie Preston supports, but she opposes borrowing against future Tier VI savings.
"I believe in paying now. Because you're just kicking that can down the road and it's either pay me now or pay me later. So that's always something out there that by the time you get to later it's always a lot more money," said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.
The state legislature and Governor face an April 1st deadline for a new budget.
****In Broome County, Jason Weinstein, Fox 40 HD News****
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