Governor Cuomo announced on Tuesday the state will increase education funding by $826 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year bringing the total education budget up to $28.5 billion, continuing a three year trend in three percent annual increases in education aid.
During his address, the governor touted the number as the highest investment in education that state has ever made but the amount still falls short of the $2 billion increase in funding state education officials requested in December of last year. About 85 percent of the budget increase –or $700 million–will go towards funding Foundation Aid.
“It’s not just how much we spend, it’s how we spend it,” said Governor Cuomo.”The assumption is often more money is better service and all we can do is provide more money. “
Cuomo added that the formula needs reform stating that it was not progressive, an idea that has been a topic of debate between elected officials and state lawmakers.
“While we agree that additional funding for high-need districts should be a priority, we need to ensure all districts have adequate resources to provide every child in New York state with a high-quality education,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and Interim Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe in a joint statement.
The governor proposes that in order to more progressively distribute state funding to the state’s neediest districts, 10 expense-based aid categories should be consolidated into Foundation Aid starting this upcoming school year. Only 50 percent of these 10 expense-based aids are distributed to high needs districts, the report says.
The budget also states that the governor will continue his effort to transform high-need schools into community schools and increased community schools set-aside funds by $50 million from last year’s $250 million amount. A $15 million investment in half-day and full-day pre-k programs was also called for in the budget and $ 10 million more in Empire State after school funding and $ 6 million for early college high schools.