January 23, 2024

NYSUT releases analysis on Governor Hochul’s executive budget: Broken promises and backtracking

Source:  NYSUT Media Relations
broken promises

ALBANY — New York State United Teachers, representing educators across the entire state, released numbers today showing that the governor’s plan to cut Foundation Aid would negatively impact every one of New York’s nearly 700 districts.

The executive budget proposal would slash more than $400 million in public school aid, with harsh effects on needy districts and small, rural communities where school budgets lean heavily on Foundation Aid. More than half of the $419 million in cuts will be taken from districts classified as High Needs Districts.

The plan — which would arbitrarily change elements of the formula to save money — represents a sharp turn for an administration that took the historic step of fully funding Foundation Aid for the first time in state history just last year.

“Call them what you want; these are cuts,” said NYSUT President Melinda Person. “Once again, the state is turning its back on its support for our students and our communities. It took less than a year after the legacy victory of fully funding Foundation Aid for that promise to be broken, and we now return to the same old fight for the resources all our schools desperately need. To say we are profoundly disappointed is an understatement.”

See the data

The total cuts come from two elements: changes to the formula’s consumer price index (CPI) adjustment and removing the “save harmless” policy that ensures school districts get at least as much school aid as the previous year.

Already letters, emails and phone calls have poured in from NYSUT members across the state with subject lines like “please help!” and explanations of how the proposed formula changes would hurt students and communities.

For example, compared to the 2023-24 levels, under the executive budget proposal:

  • Hudson would have its Foundation Aid cut by $2.9 million, or 16 percent, which is more than 5 percent of its budget for the current school year. Hudson is a low-wealth district where 65 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged.
  • Mount Vernon would have its Foundation Aid cut by $2.9 million. Mount Vernon already faces financial challenges, and 70 percent of the district’s student body is economically disadvantaged.
  • Clifton-Fine in St. Lawrence County would have its Foundation Aid cut by almost $1 million, or about 24 percent. Clifton-Fine is a small, rural district where 71 percent of students are economically disadvantaged.
  • Central Islip in Suffolk County would have its Foundation Aid cut by $2.3 million. More than 80 percent of students in the diverse district are economically disadvantaged.

NYSUT is in favor of updates to the Foundation Aid formula, but changes should be based on thoughtful research, not arbitrary measures to save the state money.