Long Island Minority Urge Gov. Cuomo To Release School Aid Numbers

Today, Assemblymen Ed Ra (R-Franklin Square), Al Graf (R,C,I-Holbrook), Dave McDonough (R,C,I-Merrick) and Dean Murray (R,C,I-East Patchogue) held a press conference regarding the governor’s decision to withhold important school aid information. All four representatives are members of the Assembly Committee on Education.

“The decision to withhold this essential school aid information has done a serious disservice to our local school boards and superintendents,” said Ra, Ranking Minority Member on the Assembly Education Committee. “Without knowing how much funding to expect for the upcoming school year, districts are unable to efficiently plan budgets or make difficult decisions regarding programs and staff. It is time to put the needs of our children ahead of this policy-driven agenda and disclose this information immediately.”

During the 2015 Executive Budget Proposal, New York State Budget Director Robert Megna announced that the amount of state funding for school districts would not be made available until the governor’s proposed education reforms are enacted. In response to this hasty decision, Ra, Graf, McDonough and Murray sent a letter to Megna requesting that he and Gov. Cuomo reconsider withholding such important figures.

“Gov. Cuomo has left our school districts in the dark as to what essential resources they will or will not have for the next school year,” said Graf. “He is holding our school districts, students and the future of our state hostage to force through his own proposed education reforms that will hinder our students rather than enrich their educational experience.”

“Holding back on releasing school aid runs is unconscionable,” said Murray. “Our superintendents and school boards need this information to plan and budget for next school year. Withholding this information does a disservice to them, and to our children, who deserve the best education possible. We are calling on the governor to do the right thing and release the school aid runs immediately.”

“Our school districts rely on these school aid runs to adequately plan for next year,” said McDonough. “The decision to withhold them only causes our schools more distress and makes an already difficult process even more so. I'm proud to join my colleagues in calling for the state Budget Director to make these numbers available to all our schools immediately.”

Other members of the Assembly Minority Conference, as well as local school board presidents and members, also attended today’s event. All shared an equal sense of urgency for the governor to disclose this important information.

“The governor should release the 2015-16 School Aid runs so that schools can properly plan their upcoming budgets as well as to allow legislators the ability to make a fair and responsible decision about the upcoming State Budget,” said Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R,C,I-East Meadow). “I join my colleagues in strongly calling on Gov. Cuomo to do the right thing and release the information for the benefit of our schools.”

“I stand with my colleagues in urging Gov. Cuomo to release the budget information to our school districts. Long Island has historically been known for the quality of education our schools provide to our children. The school boards must have this data to responsibly budget for our schools. We cannot move forward without this data and our schools, thus taxpayers, cannot wait,” said Assemblyman Joseph S. Saladino.

“There is no reason to break away from tradition,” said Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I-Smithtown). “School aid runs have always been released to the school districts in the past. Providing the school boards with the best estimate possible is not asking too much.”

“The governor needs to govern. He needs to do his job so we can do our job,” said Bob Vecchio, William Floyd School Board President.

“Many districts remain in the red with economic insolvency on the horizon,” said Longwood School Board Member, Michael Loguercio. “The additional ‘unknown’ of much-needed state revenue is appalling and abusive to public education in NYS.”