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State’s education budget leaves key questions unanswered for school districts across NY

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul announced a conceptual budget agreement on Monday, committing a historic $36 billion to education but leaving significant uncertainty in the K-12 funding formula. The proposal omitted changes to the “Hold Harmless” provision of the Foundation Aid formula, which guarantees districts will not receive less funding than the previous year, even if calculations suggest a decrease. This decision came after opposition from legislative leaders, pushing a detailed review of the formula to next year.


The budget agreement includes a slight increase in the formula’s inflation factor from 2.4% to approximately 2.8%, a move that Budget Director Blake Washington noted as a moderation in state spending. However, Bob Lowry, deputy director of the New York State Association of School Superintendents, indicated that this adjustment would still fall short of the increases districts anticipated based on existing laws.

While the “Hold Harmless” provision remains intact for now, the uncertainty continues as the state plans a comprehensive study of the Foundation Aid formula with input from the Rockefeller Institute and the State Education Department. The outcomes of this study could potentially reshape funding calculations in future budget cycles, impacting how districts plan their finances amid fluctuating enrollment and budget constraints.