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State aid figures show moderate increase for area school districts

Staff reports
Posted 4/15/22

As school district superintendents, business officials and board of education members across the region put the finishing touches on their upcoming 2022-23 budget proposals, one aspect of the process …

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State aid figures show moderate increase for area school districts

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As school district superintendents, business officials and board of education members across the region put the finishing touches on their upcoming 2022-23 budget proposals, one aspect of the process most won’t have to grapple with this year is a gap in anticipated state aid.

As part of New York’s budget proposal, approved last weekend, most local districts will see an increase — and in some cases a major increase — in the amount of combined school aid the district will receive from the state.

State lawmakers provided districts with a bit of good news in fully funding the state’s Foundation Aid, a complex formula which helps determine the level of assistance district’s receive from the state.

That aid, along with items ranging from universal pre-K funding to transportation to building aid, are tallied up to provide districts with the amount of funding they receive.

“This budget delivers historic resources for education and continues the promise to fully fund Foundation Aid, a critical step years in the making,” said New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta in regards to the approved 2022-23 state budget.

“It provides funding to hire mental health staff to support students at every level and to bolster professional learning for educators through teacher centers and implicit bias training,” Pallotta said. “But redefining public education as a system that truly supports every child is unceasing work, which is why we’ll continue fighting for dedicated funding for community schools that would deliver transformative supports for families in every community.”

New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Robert S. Schneider said, “With their approval of the 2022-23 state budget, Gov. (Kathy) Hochul and the legislature have given New Yorkers a welcome taste of the predictability and stability that a functioning foundation aid formula can provide for school districts.”

“School boards greatly appreciate this opportunity to step off the roller coaster ride that too often has taken us through New York’s budget process. This spending plan proves that reaching a school aid agreement does not need to be a high-stakes cliffhanger in order to yield good results for our students,” Schneider added.

“The $1.5 billion foundation aid increase for 2022-23 brings us two-thirds of the way to complete implementation of the formula that state lawmakers approved 15 years ago, with a promise of full funding in the next fiscal year. What’s more, a 3% minimum foundation aid boost for school districts brings an important added element of fairness at a time when all schools are coping with heightened inflation,” the executive director said.

Pallotta said that more needs to be done to help schools and educators. “We also need to tackle the ongoing teacher shortage, which this budget takes important action on. That includes the first steps toward critical retirement system reforms that will ensure public servants in Tier 6 have access to a high-quality, fair pension. This gives us yet another tool for attracting the next generation of teachers, school-related
Professionals and public employees into state and local service,” he said.

Locally, in terms of dollars, the big winners in the most recent state budget are the Utica City School District with an increase of more than $22 million in aid; the Rome City School District, $10.6 million increase; Little Falls City School District, $2.6 million; Herkimer Central School District, $2 million; New Hartford Central School District, $2 million; Central Valley School District, $1.5 million; Canastota Central School District, $1.4 million; Hamilton Central School District, $1.2 million; and the Whitesboro Central School District, $1.1 million.

Not all districts, however, saw an increase, with two districts — Sauquoit Valley and Waterville — seeing decreases in state aid. Sauquoit Valley will have a loss of $509,715 or -3.48%. Waterville will have a decrease of $112,683 or just under -1%.

For most districts, the increase, both in terms of dollars and in the overall percentage of the increase, saw a moderate boost in state aid.

Among them, in Lewis County, the South Lewis Central School District will receive $18,694,286 — an increase of $541,732 or 2.98% — while the Lowville Central School District will receive $20,930,083 — an increase of $418,038 or 2.04%.

In Herkimer County, the following figures were released by the New York State Department of Education: Central Valley Academy (in Mohawk and Ilion), $42,804,986, an increase of $1,580,960 or 3.84%; Dolgeville, $14,077,583, an increase of 399,141 or 2.92%; Frankfort-Schuyler, $11,508,144, an increase of $224,369 or 1.99%; Herkimer, 17,612,504, and increase of 2,035,627 or 13.07%; Little Falls, $18,049,081, an increase of $2,659,759 or 17.28%; the Town of Webb School District, a total of $1,161,614, an increase of $46,758 or 4.19% and West Canada Valley, $12,343,855 an increase of $540,758 or 4.58%.

In Madion County, the following state aid totals include: Brookfield, $5,048,190, an increase of $470,768 or 10.28%; Canastota, a total of $18,271,245, an increase of $1,489,914 or 8.88%; Cazenovia, $11,380,118, an increase of $594,266 or 5.51%; Chittenango, a total of $22,024,093, an increase of $468,250 or 2.17%; Hamilton, $6,474,554, an increase of $1,281,342 or 24.67%; Madison, $7,432,683, an increase of $569,113 or 8.29%; Morrisville-Eaton, $12,648,299, an increase of 610,259 or 5.07%; the Oneida City School District, a total of $26,835,731, an increase of $897,622 or 3.46%; and Stockbridge Valley, a total of $8,653,426, an increase of $359,426 or 4.33%.

In Oneida County, the following district breakdown is: Adirondack Central School District, $19,452,711, and increase of $1,140,711 or 6.23%; Camden, $40,693,468, an increase of $2,515,912 or 6.59%; Clinton, $12,297,405, an increase of $177,400 or 1.46%; Holland Patent, a total of $18,679,019, and increase of $298,984 or 1.63%; New Hartford, a total of $19,077,781, an increase of $2,071,573 or 12.18%; New York Mills, $5,408,223, an increase of $503,894 or 10.27%;

Oriskany, a total of $8,144,061, an increase of $79,360 or 0.98%; Remsen, a total of $7,501,058, an increase of $298,127 or 4.14%; Rome, a total of $88,742,235, an increase of $10,627,120 or 13.60%; Sauquoit Valley, a total of $14,116,452, a decrease of $509,715 or -3.48%; Utica, a total of $182,351,094, an increase of $22,641,250 or 14.18%; the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School District, $23,274,462, an increase of $855,903 or 3.82%; Waterville, $12,856,330, a decrease of $112,683 or -0.87%; Westmoreland, $13,148,088, an increase of $320,055 or 2.49%; and Whitesboro, a total of $36,608,145, an increase of $1,146,440 or 3.23%.

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