When Governor Cuomo presented his budget proposal this afternoon, education funding was what most everyone expected, about a 4% increase in school aid. During his speech, the Governor noted that 75% of the increase will go to High Need school districts, with 69% of all of the school aid going to those same districts.
This does not include Potsdam CSD or Canton CSD. They are Average Needs districts. Both districts will receive only about $300,000 in Gap Elimination Adjustment Restoration funds. The school aid runs are out and although they are a little confusing,
just look for the line labeled GEA Restoration. The state aid run can be
difficult to maneuver through. Keep in mind that the document is
organized by county. St. Lawrence County begins on page 63 and can be
found here: 13-14 Governor's Proposal School Runs
At first glance, it appears that Canton will receive almost $1.3 million dollars more than this year. Look more carefully and you will notice that most of the money is for categorical aids, such as special education, transportation and building aids, which are received after the expenses have occurred.
On the other hand, Potsdam appears to be getting only $30,000 more than this year's aid. Again, look carefully, and you will discover that building aid is down approximately $265,000, so less aid will be received in that category.
Isn't it finally time to get down to business? According to statements made by Potsdam's Superintendent Brady, it is estimated that there is a $1.5 million dollar gap between revenues and expenses for the 2013-14 spending plan. Now we know that it is likely the district is only going to get about $300,000 more than last year. According to Canton's Superintendent Gregory, Canton will be forced to reduce 20 or more faculty and staff positions unless the Gap Elimination Adjustment is fully restored. They too are getting only about $300,000 in additional aid, not the $2.1 million dollars they were looking for.
I heard one small ray of hope in the Governor's presentation this afternoon. Governor Cuomo announced an additional $203 million dollars for school districts for Fiscal Stabilization Funding. This was described as one time funding to help compensate for extraordinary increases in fixed costs, such as pensions. If approved by the Legislature, these additional funds may help offset a few layoffs. Fingers crossed!