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School districts get $1 billion increase, city funding stays flat in state budget

ALBANY -- While school districts around New York will see an across the board increase in state aid funding local government's aid will remain flat.

Nearly $1 billion over and above funding levels in 2012-2013 will go to schools across New York in 2013-2014. An across the board increase of almost 4.5% results in and extra $936 million, according to budget bills passed by the senate.

"I think there is a lot to like in the budget," said Bob Lowery of the New York Council of School Superintendents.

Anytime there are increases it's good for schools, said Lowery pointing out the fact school aid had been scaled back to help balance the state's one time $10 billion budget deficit.

"You see a lot of stories about districts facing the need to eliminate teachers and or other staff positions (and) this will reduce that," Lowery said. "I suspect this is larger than what most districts hoped for."

While extra money will flow into schools over the next year the funding for local governments remains flat. Aid and Incentives to Municipalities, or AIM funding, will return to the levels of 2012-2013, said a person in the state budget office Wednesday. 

A total of $715 million in AIM funding will be distributed to the state's towns, villages, and cities, the same funding as the current year said a budget staffer.

"To say we are disappointed is probably an understatement," said Barbara VanEpps, Deputy Director of the New York Conference of Mayors. "We were hoping for both mandate relief and increased AIM funding. In a $140 billion budget we did not get either."

The New York Conference of Mayors, NYCOM, works with over 600 local government officials in the state.

A lack of AIM funding increases coupled with the 2% property tax cap means services will have to suffer on the local level, VanEpps said.

"It's time we were made whole," added VanEpps.  


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