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April 1, 2015


Aid for Niskayuna in final state budget is in line with district projections

The state aid that the district would receive next year in the budget state lawmakers approved this week is in line with the projection Interim Superintendent John Yagielski included in the 2015-16 budget that he outlined on March 24.

This means that the funding for Niskayuna in the final state budget will not alter the plan that Mr. Yagielski has proposed for next year.

In the state budget, lawmakers took a balanced approach between restoring the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) and increasing Foundation Aid, with 60 percent of the funding allocated for these purposes going to GEA restoration and 40 percent being used to increase Foundation Aid.

As a result, Niskayuna will receive $939,000 in additional aid through the GEA restoration and $48,150 more in Foundation Aid next year. Those two figures total $987,163, which is only about $12,837 less than the $1 million overall aid increase the district had projected.

Other aid categories are known as expense-based aids and provide reimbursements for expenditures incurred during the prior year. After accounting for the expense-based aids, the numbers released this week by the state show an $849,368 increase for the district. However, these other aid categories are estimates at this time. Once refined and finalized, district officials expect the overall increase for the district to also be quite close to what they have projected.

"Based on our analysis, we are comfortable using the $1 million increase in our projections," Mr. Yagielski said. "We are pleased that the level of aid we expect to receive will help support our plans for next year."

On March 24, Mr. Yagielski proposed to the Board a $78.1 million spending plan that preserves all current programs and services and calls for investment in a series of key areas for the district. There would be no tax levy increase next year under the plan. The Board will continue its budget discussions on April 14.

The state aid figures released this week do not account for the potential that the district will need to repay up to $1.9 million in state building aid. With the determination of a final repayment amount pending, Mr. Yagielski set aside the full amount in his budget plan.

Special Note: Included in the state budget is a provision that districts will need to implement changes to teacher and principal evaluation systems in order to receive their state aid increase for next year. Details of the new system have not been officially provided to schools, with some elements to be determined by the State Education Department over the next few months. District leaders will also be working to learn more about a series of other educational policy changes that lawmakers included in the state budget.

For a broader look at school funding and educational policy provisions in the final state budget, click here.