May 26, 2004
Senate proposes $6.29 billion increase in state aid to schools
The Republican Senate majority has proposed a $6.29 billion increase in state aid to education to comply with a court ruling that New York must spend more on New York City schools. The state Assembly is expected to propose its own increase in school aid next week.
More than $4 billion of the increase would be funded by the state, an increase in state aid to schools of more than 33 percent, the Senate said. The plan would also require New York City to contribute $554 million in "maintenance of effort" spending over the next five years. The new state funding would come mainly from new video lottery terminals, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said.
The Senate proposal would also require the state Education Department (SED) to work directly with district officials to oversee failing schools and to place new administrators in failing schools to ensure direct state supervision.
The Senate said it will also propose a multi-billion property tax relief program to provide homeowners with "relief from the escalating school tax burden."
The Senate plan is the latest in a series of proposals to comply with a June, 2003 Court of Appeals decision. That ruling, made in a case brought by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), found that New York City schools do not provide every student with the opportunity for a sound basic education. It instructed Governor Pataki and the Legislature to develop by July 30, 2004, a plan that would provide adequate resources to New York City schools.