Oneida schools would receive smallest state aid increase in Madison County in budget proposal

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Total state financial aid for the Oneida City School District would increase slightly by 0.88% while its core foundation aid category would rise about 1.8%, based on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2020-21 state budget that was announced Tuesday.

The proposed foundation aid for 2020-21 would be $20.05 million, up from $19.69 million in 2019-20, according to state data. The Oneida district’s total proposed aid for 2020-21 would be $25.94 million, and the proposed percentage increase in total aid was the lowest among Madison County’s 10 public school districts.

Meanwhile, the Rome school district’s total state financial aid would rise by 1.87% and its core foundation aid category would go up by 2.75%, according to Cuomo’s proposal.

The percentage increase in Rome’s total aid was the fourth smallest among Oneida County’s 15 public school districts as presented in Cuomo’s plan.

State aid is the largest revenue source for the Rome district, accounting for over 60% of total revenues in its annual budgets. Its current 2019-20 budget is $116.69 million, and the Board of Education this week is beginning a review of a proposed 2020-21 district budget. The district’s total aid for 2020-21 as proposed in Cuomo’s plan would be about $76.81 million.

Within that total, the Rome district’s foundation aid category would rise to $59.189 million compared to $57.599 million in 2019-20, which would equate to a 2.75% increase based on state data. It typically comprises the largest segment of school districts’ aid, and Rome district Superintendent Peter C. Blake has called it the most important number for communities regarding the state funding.

Blake and school board President Stephen P. Hampe could not be reached for comment this morning about the 2020-21 state aid proposal for the Rome district.

The annual budget proposals by Cuomo typically are revised by state legislators during reviews prior to a final state budget being approved. The 2020-21 state budget would be for a new state fiscal year that begins April 1. Meanwhile, the new 2020-21 fiscal year for local school district budgets would begin July 1.

Statewide, Cuomo is proposing a $826 million increase in school aid for a new total of $28.5 billion, reflecting an approximately 3% increase.

The proposal drew mixed reactions from educators:

• New York State United Teachers is calling for a $2.1 billion increase in state aid for 2020-21, which would include the first installment of a three-year phase-in of over $3.4 billion in foundation aid that NYSUT says is owed to over 400 school districts based on aid formulas that have not been followed.

“The time has come for New York to fund our future. That means paying school districts what they are owed....,” said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta.

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