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Hochul signals delay in changes to school aid as budget negotiations continue

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  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul has signaled a postponement in implementing changes to New York’s Foundation Aid formula, which impacts how school districts receive funding. The proposed end to the “hold harmless” provision, preventing schools from receiving less aid than the previous year, will not be included in this year’s budget but is anticipated to be revisited for the next fiscal cycle. Hochul expressed intentions to update the formula by next year’s budget, aiming for a fairer distribution of funds based on current needs rather than outdated data.

Despite initial advocacy for the change, recognizing the Foundation Aid formula’s reliance on data from 2008 and earlier, Hochul acknowledged the need for a gradual approach to reform. This decision comes amidst concerns from state lawmakers and school districts about the potential impact of abrupt funding changes. The governor emphasized the importance of giving all stakeholders ample notice and preparing for a transition to a new funding mechanism that reflects current population and educational needs.

Lawmakers, including Assemblymember Pat Fahy and State Senator Jim Tedisco, voiced support for the cautious approach to updating the funding formula. They highlighted the complexity of reforming educational and higher education funding within a short budgetary timeframe and the necessity of prioritizing education in state spending. The delay allows for more comprehensive planning and ensures that any modifications to Foundation Aid will be thoughtfully implemented to support New York’s schools and students effectively.