Governor Cuomo calls for a 4.4% increase in school aid
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - While Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2013-2014 Budget proposal avoids any tax increases, it calls for a 4.4 % increase in school aid. The plan is up 0.4 % from last year and in total brings an additional $889 Million to New York schools. Senator Joseph Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi say the increase in aid is moving in the right direction, recognizing the problems and challenges many school districts are facing, however now it's time they look at the details. They wonder whether or not the increase is enough and how that money will be distributed. "The concern I have is how will we direct that money," said Senator Joseph Griffo, 47th District. "I want to make sure it continues to focus on the low wealth high needs districts such as those in this area. I also want to take a look at whether or not he's recommending competitive grants because I think at this point that should go directly into general education money." Senator Griffo says while the Governor did propose some new creative initiatives to better educate people with for example longer school days and years, he says we also need to look at schools existing problems such as the state aid formula. "How can it be more equitable? More predictable, more fair and also what can we do to further relieve significant mandates and cost associated with them on these school districts?" said Senator Griffo. Senator Griffo suggests even changing components of the school aid formula if not the whole thing to make it more fair, something Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi agrees with. "There's bills in the legislature right now, one that I co-sponsor that would direct more money to the higher needs district which many that are here in the Mohawk Valley," said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, 119th District. So certainly increase in education aid is good but we want to make sure we fight to get that money directed towards the neediest districts."