posted on March 02, 2011 15:52
School officials statewide have been crying foul over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 1.5-billion dollars in cuts to school aid. Now, it seems the weight of those cuts will be shouldered by area schools.
Locally, Wyoming County has the highest average proposed cut in the state: Cuomo would slash 10.5% of the funding for Attica, Letchworth, Perry, Warsaw and Wyoming schools.
Wyoming Central has the third-lowest budget for all central school districts in New York ($4,821,786). Under Cuomo’s plan, they would lose the most funding per student anywhere – 8.7%, or over $2,550 dollars per pupil.
Compare that to Westchester County’s Scarsdale School District: their budget is one of the heftier ones in the state at $134,743,938. Yet Scarsdale will only lose 0.7% of their funding under the governor's proposal – just over $200 per student.
Wyoming County State Assemblyman Dan Burling calls it appalling.
"Our kids are worth just as much as the kids are in Westchester County," says Burling, "and the way that the governor's budget has treated us – it's almost criminal!
"These are difficult times, and we have to cut back. But it has to be done evenly and fairly."
The highest amount any school district would see cut is 11%. Three of the five districts in Wyoming County are slated to be to cut that maximum amount.
No district in Westchester County would be cut more than 6.9%, and only thirteen districts would be cut more than 2%. Westchester County has 38 school districts in all.
Burling vows to fight the governor’s budget cuts to education, with the help of the entire Western New York delegation.
"This is not over. This is the governor's initial budget. I've been doing this for 13 years and this (initial budget) is always the worst-case scenario," Burling says. "But we're going to fight to change this. And I think that we probably will be successful."
Overall, the proposed cuts for Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming County Schools are nearly three times the cuts proposed for some downstate school districts.
The charts below demonstrate highlights of the school funding statistics in Western New York, versus those in the downstate counties surrounding New York City.
Average Proposed School Aid Cuts in WNY, by County
- 3 of 8 districts would take max. 11% cut: Byron-Bergen, LeRoy & Pembroke
- Alexander would take 10.5% cut
- Largest district, Batavia, would take smallest cut in county: 6.9%
||- 1 district would take max. 11% cut: Caledonia-Mumford
||- Holley would take 10.3% cut
||- 3 of 5 districts would take max. 11% cut: Attica, Letchworth & Warsaw
- Perry would take 10.7% cut
- Wyoming CSD loses most per student in state at over $2,550
||- 2 of 10 districts would take max. 11% cut: Royalton-Hartland & N. Tonawanda
- Lockport would take 10.9% cut; Wilson, 10.6% cut; Newfane, 10.4% cut
- 2 of 27 districts would take max. 11% cut: Tonawanda & Springville-Griffith
- Evans-Bryant would take 10.8% cut; Depew, 10.6% cut; Holland, 10.5% cut
- Largest district, Williamsville, would take smallest cut in county: 4.7%
Average Proposed School Aid Cuts Downstate, by County
||- Highest proposed cut: 6.9% (Beacon City & Poughkeepsie City)
- Lowest proposed cut: 2.1%, Rhinebeck (budget $27.7 million)
||- Highest proposed cut: 6.7% (Freeport)
- Lowest proposed cut: Jericho, 0.9% (budget $108.9 million)
||- Proposed cuts range from 1.4% to 9.8%
||- Highest proposed cut: 4.3% (Mahopac & Brewster)
||- Average district budget: $119.2 million (8 districts)
- Highest proposed cut: 6.3% (East Ramapo)
- 5 of 8 proposed cuts below 3%
- Home to highest budget in state: Brentwood, $304.1 million (1.7% proposed cut)
- Highest proposed cut: 8.2% (Tuckahoe)
- 23 school budgets above $100k; average proposed cut, 2.5%
- Highest proposed cut: 6.9% (Mt. Vernon & Peekskill City)
- 32 of 38 proposed cuts below 3%
*All data from the Statewide School Finance Consortium. Full report available HERE.