RCS District Office
P.O. Box 100
15 Mountain Road
Ravena, NY 12143
(518) 756-5200
Robert K. Libby,
Superintendent

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Analysis of the 2013-14 Executive Budget Proposal

  • The use of the $265 million of expense driven aids and the distribution of $290 million of the high needs GEA reduction ($555 M total) will help needy school districts only partially ameliorate the impact of continuous state aid cuts on their budgets and tax levies.
  • The $555 million of expense driven aids and the GEA reduction results in an average of only a 2.8% increase in state aid support to school districts; as opposed to the claim of a 4.1% increase cited in the Executive Proposal.
  • Further, the $555 million represents only 68.8% of the promised $805 million of new aid to school districts.
  • The Executive budget has allocated $250 million of new funding for a Performance Grants program in FY 2012-13. This is problematic because:
    • The grants were originally supposed to be applied for and awarded in the 2011-12 school fiscal year based on the state FY budget for 2011-12. Thus, all funds for the grants should have been budgeted in the 2011-12 state FY.
    • While the focus on improved performance is commendable, not a single grant has yet been awarded, initiated, or evaluated to assess its relative efficacy, the need for revision of grant eligibility, application, award, goal setting, and metrics of results processes or standards.
    • Until such issues are resolved the withholding of $250 million in state support for school district mechanisms is counterproductive to the continuance of efforts by all school districts to improve student performance. The allocation of $250 million for a Performance Grants program therefore appears to be premature and arbitrary.
  • Due to the anticipated $7 Billion loss of state support to school districts through GEA cuts of state aid since the 2010-11 school year, it is critical that funds be reallocated from the proposed $250 million for Performance Grants and the $203 million for “Fiscal Stabilization Funding” to a distribution of funds on an equitable basis to school districts. These funds are critically needed to offset the rapid and consistent escalation of state mandates, labor, medical and pension costs. This is especially critical as the new Tax Levy Cap law takes effect.