ALBANY, N.Y. (January 16, 2024) — In response to Governor Hochul’s executive budget address, the public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education released the following response:
“Despite the Governor’s insistence that her executive proposal today is not a cut, it will likely mean less funding for some schools — not because it doesn’t keep pace with the historic Foundation Aid and federal aid increases of the past 3 years, but because it seems likely that the less-than-expected funding included in this budget for public schools will translate to fewer resources, programs, and supports for students in classrooms.
“Based on the State Division of the Budget presentation last fall, we were expecting a $1.3 billion school aid increase (4.8%), including a $927 million increase in Foundation Aid based on current law. Instead, the Foundation Aid increase in Governor Hochul’s budget proposal is only $507 million, or $419 million less than expected.
“What the Governor is changing in the formula to arrive at this lower number — including the impact of her vague proposal to end the hold harmless provision — will have to be unearthed from the budget bills, but it seems that she is adjusting the formula on her own simply to justify giving schools less money. We agree there needs to be an update to the Foundation Aid formula, but it must be a process involving the State Education Department and engaging communities, with the goal of more accurately capturing students’ growing needs, not as a penny-pinching budgeting strategy.
“What now remains to be seen is which districts the nearly half a billion dollars that we expected to see in the Governor’s proposal for schools were taken from,” said Marina Marcou-O’Malley, interim co-Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.
“Governor Hochul’s executive proposal does nothing to meaningfully invest in child care for families or the child care workforce, which still earns abysmally low wages. Without child care workers, families cannot benefit from the expansions in eligibility for child care assistance that the Governor loves to tout. Early care and learning are an essential part of our education system, and we need New York State to value it as such, by investing in its workforce.
“The Governor lamented $6 billion in lost revenue while insisting on absolutely no income tax increases, despite a slate of revenue proposals that would bring in $45.5 billion in revenue annually from the ultra-wealthy. Governor Hochul’s opposition to taxes, which she calls ‘added burdens,’ would itself, ironically, add enormous burdens to New York’s children and families, and the people least able to pay, at the protection of the pocketbooks of the ultra-wealthy.
“With the Governor looking to pull back on the state’s support for children and working families, it is going to be up to the New York State Legislature to push back on the Governor, and ensure the enacted budget safeguards the vulnerable, rather than prioritizing millionaires, billionaires, and corporations,” said Zakiyah Shaakir-Ansari, interim co-Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.