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Superintendents: state aid increase doesn't change the big picture for districts

By HILARY LANE

HERKIMER COUNTY, N.Y. (WKTV) - In Albany on Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to help schools across the state thrive during his budget address.

He says he is committing 4% more in school aid over last year, but the big question is how will the schools in our area be affected.

Here are the state aid numbers for the four schools involved in a possible merger in Herkimer County:

2012-13 school year excluding Expense-Based Aids (Building, Transportation, and BOCES):

Frankfort-Schuyler - $5,151,770 - Increase of 6.06% from last year

Ilion - $12,374,686 - Increase of 2.49% from last year

Mohawk - $6,6111,973 - Increase of 1.29% from last year

Herkimer - $6,436,093 - Increase of 2.81% from last year


Here is what Frankfort-Schuyler Superintendent Bob Reina had to say about the state aid allocated to his district:

"I think there is a long way to go, because I do believe there is an inequity in state aid in terms of how the determination is made, especially when you start looking at upstate and downstate issues in terms of the distribution of aid."

Reina says he is appreciative of the aid, but feels the area should receive even more money because many of the local schools are strapped for cash.

Herkimer Interim Superintendent of Schools Gary Tutty understands that state money is tight, but says the aid his district will receive is not going to make much of a difference.

"I think it's a step in the right direction, but I don't think it can change a whole lot of what we can do right now. We are faced with a whole lot of the same issues, but these are tough times," says Tutty. "But it's a step in the right direction and it's much better than what we saw last year."

Ilion School District Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra says the state aid allocated for the district is not enough to turn things around.

"While I understand the governor is looking to be fiscally responsible, the additional aid increase does not change the big picture for our school district. It is going to help a little bit, but does not change a thing."

Mohawk Superintendent Joyce Caputo was not available for comment.

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