Gov. Cuomo proposes change in how aid is allocated to LI districts
Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed changes to how aid is allocated to school districts across Long Island as part of the new state budget.
The governor's office says the plan will help bridge the gap between wealthy and poor school districts. Cuomo wants to change the formula that determines how much state money each school district receives.
Richard Loeschner, the superintendent of the Brentwood School District, says the budget is tight so he's thankful for any increase in funds. However, he says it would still not be enough to cover all of the district's costs.
Loeschner says the formula that's being used is not being implemented the right way. Under the proposal, Brentwood is slated to get an additional $9.5 million next year. He says that's great, but it's still not enough.
School officials in South Huntington say they also get shortchanged. Dr. David Bennardo, the superintendent of the South Huntington School District, says his district is mistakenly seen as being weatlhy and as a result receives a smaller increase in state aid.
"Our combined wealth ratio shows us solidly middle class, which we want to be and we are," says Bennardo. "But by the same token we have a 54 percent free and reduced lunch population. So that's not a wealthy district."
Education expert Michael Cohen predicts that if the plan goes into effect it won't be much help for struggling schools because the gap between the rich and the poor is already too wide.
In total, the governor's budget would set aside $28.5 billion for school aid.