March 29, 2009
CONTACT: Jeffrey Gordon


Will Ensure School Districts Can Continue to Provide a High-quality Education

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that federal economic recovery aid reflected in the final State budget agreement will provide dramatic increased resources for school districts.

“I fought hard last year to ensure that funding for education was included in the federal economic recovery package, and that advocacy has paid off,” said Governor Paterson. “These critical resources will help school districts continue to provide a high-quality education during this difficult economic climate, while holding the line on property taxes. I am grateful to President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Rangel, and the entire New York Congressional Delegation for working to ensure that education funding was included as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

State school aid will total approximately $21.9 billion in 2009-10, an increase of $405 million or 1.9 percent. This reflects the elimination of a proposed $1.1 billion Deficit Reduction Assessment through the use of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) aid. When combined with other federal economic recovery aid through Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act ($454 million) and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act programs ($398 million), support for school districts is expected to increase by $1.2 billion.

The 2009-10 Executive Budget included $20.7 billion for School Aid. Overall, due to the additional financial resources provided through ARRA, the Enacted Budget provides an additional fiscal benefit to school districts of $2 billion.

Comparison of Executive and Enacted Budget School Aid
  Executive Budget Enacted Budget Difference
School Aid $20,693M $21,857M $1,164M
Title I $0M $454M $454M
IDEA $0M $398M $398M
Total School District Benefit $20,693M $22,709M $2,016M

The Enacted Budget includes the following support for education:

Eliminate Deficit Reduction Assessment. The planned $1.1 billion Deficit Reduction Assessment has been eliminated through the use of federal economic recovery funding.

Expense-Based Aids. With the elimination of the Deficit Reduction Assessment, the State Budget fully funds all expense-based aids, including Transportation Aid (+$103 million), Building Aid (+$204 million), BOCES Aid (+$ 47 million) and aid for special education students who require specialized school placements (Private Excess Cost Aid +$24 million). These wealth-adjusted formulas provide State aid reimbursement for specific activities, and provide greater levels of state reimbursement to low wealth school districts.

Foundation Aid Phase-in. Foundation Aid will be maintained at 2008-09 levels ($14.8 billion) in both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years. The State Budget maintains the commitment to fully phase-in Foundation Aid, but in recognition of the State’s deteriorating fiscal condition; Foundation Aid will now be fully phased-in by 2013-14. The original schedule would have fully phased-in this formula in 2010-11.

Restore Funding for Teacher Centers. Funding is maintained for this $40 million discretionary grant program that offers both online and classroom-based professional development activities for teachers.

Preschool Special Education. The additional federal funding also allows for elimination of a proposal to have school districts pay a share of preschool special education costs, which will save school districts an additional $185 million in 2009-10.

Contract For Excellence. The Budget continues the Contract for Excellence Program (C4E) for 2009-10. This program will require 32 school districts with academic shortcomings (including all of the Big 5 cities’ school districts) to maintain funding levels on specific proven education programs, such as class size reduction, to assist in improving student performance levels.

Charter Schools. Tuition payments made by school districts to charter schools will be frozen to 2008-09 levels for the upcoming school year, reflecting that Foundation Aid is also being maintained at 2008-09 levels. Charter schools that experience enrollment increases will receive funding for those additional pupils. Other education-related items include: Library Aid. Operating support to public libraries, library systems and reference and research libraries is partially restored in the Enacted Budget. This restoration is $10.6 million, bringing the total funding in 2009-10 to $91.1 million. Public Broadcasting Aid. Operating aid to public television and radio stations is partially restored in the Enacted Budget. After this restoration of $5.6 million, funding for Public Broadcasting will total $15 million. College Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP). CSTEP provides mentoring programs for college students pursuing degrees in mathematics, science, technology and health-related fields. With a restoration of $3.6 million, the 2009-10 funding level in the Enacted Budget totals $7.6 million. Arts Grants. Funding for the Council on the Arts, which distributes grants to various arts and cultural not-for-profit organizations is partially restored. State funding of $42.6 million, including a $3.7 million restoration, will be available for these grants, the highest level of State support for arts and cultural organizations in the nation.