ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal for the education budget was met with boos and even a heckler when the number was announced.
On Wednesday, a joint legislative committee met to examine the education budget to see how the money is being spent and what this amount would mean for schools across the state.
“The districts will be faced with either having to cut services and/or raise taxes,” Senator Catherine Young (R-Chautauqua) said.
This point became glaringly clear as the Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia relayed how important services are being threatened.
“I think you pointed out what the problems are,” Elia said.
“As soon as administrators see that there’s less money in the system they’ll cut the things that count the most to kids sometimes, things that make them really interested in schools like the music program the phys ed program,” Andrew Pallotta, President of NYSUT, said.
Within the budget, there is also a two percent spending cap proposal, which could threaten services such as BOCES and transportation.
“When you look at transportation aid for example, obviously we have to get kids to and from school and we should be reimbursing the districts,” Sen. Young said.
“This is a major issue,” Elia said.
The board of regents is requesting a $1.6 billion increase for the education budget this year, but the Governor is only proposing almost half of that.
“We’re going to say that we need $1.5 just to continue services,” Pollata said.
“Foundation aid is an absolutely critical thing as we move toward just maintaining programs. Many districts are still coming back from having less funding than they actually need,” Elia said.
The final budget is due on April 1st.