School stimulus, the long and short of it

As residents head to the polls next Tuesday to vote on school budget issues, many Long Island districts are facing dire financial circumstances because of decisions made in Albany and Washington. Districts

News 12 Staff

May 18, 2009, 9:22 PM

Updated 5,539 days ago

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As residents head to the polls next Tuesday to vote on school budget issues, many Long Island districts are facing dire financial circumstances because of decisions made in Albany and Washington.
Districts across Long Island are facing 3 percent school tax hikes, but it could be worse. Faced with a record deficit, last year Gov. David Paterson proposed slashing state aid to schools. That would have resulted in double-digit tax hikes. The economic stimulus bill Congress passed earlier this year helped to hold proposed school tax increases down.
However, Long Island schools continue to struggle because of the way that state aid is divided between New York?s regions.
"We are 17 percent of the state's population,? Dowling College economist Marty Cantor says. ?We educate 14 percent of the kids and we are only getting 5 percent of the increase in state aid.?
Brentwood Superintendent Donna Jones says her district made it through the tough times by getting rid of 40 teaching positions through attrition and reassignments, but says tougher times are ahead for area schools.
Brentwood mother Stephanie Morales says the state and country?s financial problems will only hurt the students.
"You can't take away from one program to put to another because one child may not be able to progress academically as well as another child,? Morales says.
Administrators have been told to expect a freeze in state aid from Albany over the next two years. By then, federal stimulus money will begin drying up.


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