Early Sunday morning, on the final day of 2019 fiscal year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced that they had reached an agreement on the $175.5 Billion Budget.
The budget includes an additional $1 billion for education on top of what the governor proposed in January. However, the governor was able to stop the Legislature’s push to drastically grow education, which was a top priority for a new class of vocal, progressive legislators.
As a result of the $1 billion funding increase between the governor’s initial budget and the final spending plan, Jamestown Public Schools is poised to receive more money than what the governor’s office had proposed.
Under the newly passed state budget, Jamestown will get a 5.57 percent increase in total state aid for next year. When building aid is removed, it’s actually a 4.3 percent increase. But some of that 4.3 percent increase is restricted to mandated programs like BOCES and Universal Pre-Kindergarten.
When it comes to general operating aid that can be spent at the school board’s discretion – referred to as Foundation Aid in the budget – Jamestown will actually see an increase of about 3.5 percent over the current school year. That’s higher than what the governor originally proposed but it’s still about $250,000 lower than what school officials had said they were hoping to get when discussing the budget during last week’s budget work session.
School officials had estimated next year’s total school budget to come in at about $89.7 million – but that included a projected 4 percent increase in Foundation Aid from the state. The Jamestown School Board along with Superintendent Bret Apthorpe and his staff will now have to work to close a $250,000 gap. The options including making cuts, taping into reserve funds, or adjusting the tax levy – which will likely receive little to no support from the school board.
All told, Jamestown will get $50,787,782 in Foundation aid for the 2019-20 school year – about $1,000,000 more than what the governor had proposed in January. The total state aid, including building aid and other restricted funds, comes in at $72,355,152.
The next meeting of the school board to discuss and most likely finalize next year’s school budget is scheduled for April 16.
A full list of school aid figures for all districts in the county is available at the State budget website at Budget.NY.gov.