Today, Education Law Center released a research brief analyzing state school aid cuts in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s FY22 State Budget. For a second straight year, the Governor wants to impose significant cuts on school districts. For the 2021-22 school year, the proposed cuts would total $2 billion statewide.
If enacted by the Legislature, the Governor’s state aid cuts would amount to over half of the $3.85 billion in federal emergency relief funds allocated by Congress to New York public schools in the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act. Congress intended these federal funds to be used by districts over multiple years to respond to the immediate and ongoing impacts of COVID-19, not to plug holes in state education budgets.
The $2 billion in proposed cuts includes a $1.35 billion “local district funding adjustment” (LDFA) along with a $683 million “Services Aid Reduction” (SAR). Governor Cuomo has proposed that these cuts be permanent and recur in future year budgets, when emergency federal funds may no longer be available to fill the hole.
The proposed $2 billion reduction in state aid would also wipe out a significant portion of the federal CRSSA relief funds in most districts, depriving them of the additional resources needed to address immediate COVID-19 impacts. For example, Ithaca public schools would receive $7,221 per pupil without the cuts in state aid, rising to$8,162 per pupil with the CRSSA funds. However, the proposed cuts would lower the amount to $7,279 per pupil even with the federal relief funds.
“At this critical time, New York’s public schools have an enormous need for more resources to reopen school buildings safely and provide the additional academic and social supports students sorely need,” said Mary McKillip, ELC Senior Researcher. “As the data show, the Governor’s proposed state aid cuts would substantially dilute the beneficial impact of federal COVID-19 relief funds for schools at a time when most needed.”
“It was bad enough when Governor Cuomo enacted his ‘pandemic cut’ last year, when New York was one of the few states that used federal relief money to fill a budget hole he created rather than to close the digital divide or help teachers and students with remote learning or any of the other challenges presented by the pandemic” said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education. “We’re not going to let it happen again this year. New York State has an obligation to open all our schools and support our students and teachers as they emerge from the most difficult year in memory.”
View Governor Cuomo’s proposed cuts for all New York districts here.