FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement From Chancellor Young, the Board of Regents and Interim Commissioner Rosa on Executive Budget Proposal
While understanding the current fiscal realities our state is facing, we cannot balance the state budget on the backs of our students by forcing school districts to use federal funding to fill the holes left in their budgets by a decrease in State Aid. As we laid out in our Budget and Legislative Priorities, we are profoundly opposed to federal funds being used to replace state dollars to support our schools.
It is vital that the Biden administration and our Congressional delegation come through with much-needed fiscal relief. However, this one-shot funding should be used to help school districts meet the enormous additional costs of the pandemic and to address learning loss and other adverse student impacts rather than day-to-day expenses. Further, school aid and other state reimbursements to school districts are disproportionately cut relative to other programs in the proposed budget, and state aid was the only program cut in the 2020-21 enacted budget.
The Executive Budget unjustly proposes to consolidate aid for many vital services and programs, such as transportation, BOCES, textbooks, software and hardware, library materials and countless others, reducing reimbursement to school districts by $393 million in the 2021-22 school year. The Executive Budget would also make permanent a cost shift for certain special education services, resulting in a $28 million negative impact for school districts in the 2021-2022 school year.
A bright spot in the Executive Budget is the proposal, which the Board of Regents and Department have advocated for since the spring of 2020, to reimburse schools for using buses to deliver meals, wi-fi access and needed educational materials to support students engaging in remote learning in the 2019-20 school years. This proposal, however, does not include paying for critical stand-by transportation costs that districts incurred during the pandemic or reimburse districts for meal and materials delivery in the 2020-21 school year, as was proposed by the Board of Regents and Department.
We remain focused on ensuring that all students in New York have access to a high-quality education and the technology necessary to progress academically. We look forward to discussing our priorities with the Executive, State Assembly and Senate as we advocate for the funding that is necessary to meet the needs of all students.
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