Lawmakers reach state budget deal; $1.4B increase in school aid
A deal has been reached on a new state budget that includes an increase of $1.4 billion in school aid.
While there are still details being worked out, New York is slated to have an on-time budget for a fifth straight year, something that hasn't happened in decades.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, of Rockville Centre, says there are a lot of good things in the state's budget agreement, including state aid being increased about 7 percent over last year. The hefty hike in school aid includes what could be considered back payments for what's called the Gap Elimination Adjustment, a formula put in place during the recent recession that cut aid to schools.
State Sen. John Flanagan, of Northport, is the head of the Senate's Education Committee. Flanagan says half of the money that districts lost under the formula will be restored in this budget.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo's insistence on having test scores account for 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation was not included. Instead, the state Education Department will set the standards.
The budget also includes a new ethics bill that is aimed at shedding more light on income legislators earn outside of their elected jobs.
One issue unresolved is how to divide $5 billion earmarked for bridge and road repairs. Skelos says Nassau and Suffolk counties should get a major chunk of that.
"I would say anything around $500 million or more would be good for Long Island," he says.