On Friday evening, Governor Cuomo signed the 2019-20 state budget. None of his line-item vetoes addressed public education, so all aspects of the budget covered in ASBO updates and our recent webinar will go into effect. In particular, school districts can establish TRS reserves.
Unfortunately, the Governor didn’t take action to address the burden school districts will face because of changes to the election law authorizing employees to take up to three hours off with pay to vote. Attached is a sample letter you can share with your legislators outlining these challenges and asking for school districts to be exempted from the law.
ASBO New York Spring Update for Nassau-Suffolk Chapter
On Sunday, March 31, the governor and legislature reached agreement on the 2019-20 state budget, which includes a more than $1 billion increase in aid to schools. This includes a $618 million dollar increase in Foundation Aid. The budget also adopts several ASBO priorities included in our State Aid Proposal, notably:
Establishing a TRS reserve
Staggering Building Condition Surveys over five years, beginning in January 2020
Allowing piggybacking on out-of-district transportation contracts
Other adopted proposals ASBO supported include:
Raising the salary cap for BOCES District Superintendents
Making reduced-price lunches free for students
ASBO is pleased that the final budget rejects or modifies several proposals from the Executive Budget:
There will be no changes to reimbursable aids, including building aid
The state will not direct how school districts distribute their funding. Instead, districts are directed to file a report on how they have prioritized addressing identified inequities by September 1
Along with all of the good news, there are some challenges in the budget. While we appreciate the significant Foundation Aid increase over the Executive Budget proposal, it is a smaller percentage increase than last year and doesn’t represent a significant step toward fully funding Foundation Aid, leaving many school districts without adequate funding to provide all students with the opportunity for a meaningful education. The budget also made the Tax Cap permanent without modification.
School Aid Runs Available
School Aid runs for the 2019-20 school year are now available and can be viewed here.
Joint Budget Sub-committee on Education
Joint Budget Sub-committee on Education met today (March 27th) to provide update on state budget negotiations. Senator Mayer, Chair of the Senate Education Committee, stated that they reached agreement on two of ASBO's recommendations from our 2019-20 School Aid Proposal - allowing piggybacking of transportation contracts and staggering the Building Condition Survey. Other items discussed at the Sub-committee meeting included:
A table target, outside of increased Foundation Aid, of $50 to fund additional legislative priorities
The importance of addressing school governance in New York City (S. Liu, A. Benedetto)
Full funding for the operation of the State Education Department (S. Meyer)
Funding for the Higher Education Opportunity Program and the Science and Technology Entry Program (A. Frontus)
Library Aid (A. Walsh, S. Seward)
Funding for special act school districts (A. Walsh)
The needs of the Yonkers City School District (S. Meyer)
Professional development for teachers and administrators (Martinez)
NYS Senate and Assembly Release One-House Budgets
Both houses of the Legislature released their one-house budget bills this week. These are often seen as legislative wish lists and are unlikely to make it into law as is but form the basis for serious negotiations between the Governor and the two houses. The legislative budget bills included many proposals advanced by ASBO New York.
New York State Senate
Increases School Aid by $1.6 billion or 6.0 percent above the 2018-19 school year;
Increases Foundation Aid by $1.2 billion or 6.8 percent;
Provides $25 million in additional grants to school districts to support English Language Learner students;
$10 million for increased reimbursement for in-state school meal procurement;
$750,000 for Farm to School Programs;
$20 million in additional funding to support schools placed under receivership;
$20 million for expanded pre-kindergarten grants, $5 million above the Executive;
$2 million for new Early College High School programs;
Discontinues the Contract for Excellence program;
Denies the Executive proposal to require districts to set aside a portion of their Foundation Aid increase to schools selected by the Division of Budget;
Repeal current law that requires school districts to submit school level funding plans that are duplicative with requirements under the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act;
Deny the Executive proposal to change the personal income growth index to a 10-year average;
Provide a three-year phase-in of Foundation Aid;
Deny the limitation on building aid reimbursement;
Deny the consolidation of expense-based aids;
Deny the freezing of school aid claims based on the November data;
Provide amnesty for building aid penalties;
Provide amnesty for transportation aid penalties;
Apply prior year adjustments toward state aid recoveries;
Increase the aidable salaries for staff providing career and technical education services through BOCES;
Phase-in reimbursement for ninth graders in Special Services Aid for non-component school districts;
Allow school districts to establish reserve funds for Teacher Retirement System expenses within their existing State and Local Employees' Retirement System reserve fund;
Supplemental basic tuition for charter schools paid in current year;
Stagger building condition surveys over a five-year period;
Allow school districts that have tax certiorari judgments that exceed the amount of the district's annual budget to receive Building Aid for the bonded payment; and
Modify the Executive proposal allowing school districts to purchase school bus stop arm cameras, to require such cameras be reimbursable through state aid.
New York State Assembly
Increases School Aid by $1.6 billion;
Increases Foundation Aid by $1.2 billion. All districts would receive at least 53 percent of their Foundation Aid;
A timeline for full funding of Foundation Aid: 2020-21, 33 percent of Foundation Aid still due; 2021-22, 50 percent; 2022-23, 100 percent;
Proposes limiting community schools set-aside to 2.5 percent of the Foundation Aid a district receives and a maximum 20 percent increase in a given year. Amounts above these thresholds may be used for community schools programs at the district’s discretion. Includes addressing trauma as a possible use for community schools set-aside;
Rejects equity plans;
Modifies the proposal for 10-year personal income growth average to begin with 2020-21, keeping 2019-20 as being based on the one-year change;
Ends Contracts for Excellence;
Homelessness Aid: For all districts with a homeless count greater than five, aid is $144.71 * homelessness count, with $10,000 minimum and $7 million max;
Rejects executive building aid proposal
Includes school based health, dental, and mental health services in the categories for building capacity ratings, making these spaces eligible for building aid;
Using building aid to finance debt related to tax certiorari, if the amount is greater than the previous year’s total general fund expenditures; building aid ratio plus 0.1;
Below is an updated comparison chart showing elements of proposals by the Executive, the Legislature, and ASBO.
Legislature One-House Budgets
Total proposed increase
Foundation Aid increase
$1.3 billion; three-year phase-in; make Community schools set-aside a separate categorical aid
$1.2 billion; commitment to a three-year phase-in. Assembly would limit size of community schools set-aside
Full funding of current laws
Full funding of current laws
Full funding of current laws
Support for English language learners
$85 million categorical
$25 million (Senate)
Career and technical education (CTE)
Increase amount of salaries eligible for aid (Assembly – all BOCES employees; Senate – CTE teachers)
Student safety and well-being
$250 million to address safety and well being of students
$4 million for mental health grants (Assembly)
$1.5 million for grants addressing mental health in middle school
$20 million (senate); make pre-k students eligible for transportation aid (Assembly)
$50 million increased annual appropriation and proposal to apply revenues reclaimed from state overpayments to PYAs
In addition to allocated funding, apply revenues reclaimed from state overpayments to PYAs
Regional high schools
Other policy proposals
Rejects executive proposals for equity plans, services aid and a new tier of building aid. Proposals include equity in small city debt limits, excluding local share of BOCES capital projects, and include PILOTs, TRS reserves, transportation flexibility incentives including piggybacking on existing contracts, staggered building condition surveys, and amnesty for Building Aid penalties resulting from administrative errors.
Both reject Executive proposals on equity plans and repeal school-level budget reporting requirements, reject changes to categorical aids (changes to building aid and services aid block grant).
Both include TRS Reserves, five-year staggered building condition surveys, and using building aid to finance tax certiorari.
Both propose raising the salary cap for BOCES District Superintendents.
Assembly proposes a new homeless student aid and piggybacking on transportation existing contracts.
Senate includes amnesty for Building and Transportation aids.
Major proposals include: equity plan mandate addressing intra-district aid distribution, consolidating 11 aid categories into a block grant, and significant changes to formula aid, new tier of building aid.
Analysis of Services Aid and Building Aid in Executive Budget
On Feb. 26, 2019 ASBO discussed New York State school aid with legislative staff. The presentation can be found here and a webinar re-production can be found below:
30-day Amendments Relating to P-12 Education
The Governor released 30-day amendments relating to P-12 education late on February 14, 2019.
The Governor’s proposal continues to exempt school aid from budget reductions that may occur if state revenue is low. School aid may be affected if federal funding is reduced by at least $850 million.
Legislative action outside the budget process can have no significant fiscal impact without a process to identify funding.
The Executive’s Budget amendments introduced “pay-go” language to provide for the offset, through spending reductions and/or receipts increases, of bills that are adopted outside of the Budget and have a fiscal impact of at least $1 million. The Legislature could still act on bills with a significant fiscal impact; the language just ensures that there is a plan in place to maintain Budget balance.
Equity plan legislation, if enacted, will occur regardless of any reductions that occur if revenue is low.
An assortment of different competitive grants awarded since 2012 are re-appropriated and extended to March 31, 2020, correcting an oversight by updating the special lapse date embedded in the appropriation language (currently 3/31/19).
Read our summary of changes, along with descriptions released by the New York State Budget Division and links to bill language.
ASBO Testimony at Joint Budget Hearing on Executive Budget Proposal
Michael Borges, Executive Director, offered testimony to New York's joint legislative body on February 6, 2019. In his testimony, which can be found here, he outlined the need for critical changes to the Executive's proposal which lacks a meaningful commitment to fully fund Foundation Aid owed to school districts among other shortcomings.
On January 15, The Governor presented his Executive Budget. In it he called for a 3.6 percent increase in education aid for a total funding level of $27.7 billion in state aid to school districts.
Deborah H. Cunningham, Director of Education and Research, and Andrew Van Alstyne, Deputy Director of Education and Research will break down the proposal in a webinar at 2:30 p.m. on January 17. You can register for the webinar here. The powerpoint presentation and accompanying materials are available below: