It's Your Money: Tracking school tax dollars

Posted at: 01/22/2013 7:41 PM
Updated at: 01/22/2013 8:05 PM
By: Ray Levato

$136 billion, that's what Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for in his new budget proposal and it's your tax dollars.

His plans calls for a nearly 2% spending increase and a 4.4% increase in state school aid.
Governor Cuomo has made it clear that students need more time spent in the classroom, but that'll cost money for teachers and other staff. One local school leader says what he's proposing may may not be enough.

Governor Cuomo has put $20 million in his new budget for extending the school day or the school year or both, but he gave no details of how that money would be spent.

Jody Siegle is Executive Director of the Monroe County School Boards Association which represents every school district in the county including the city of Rochester. Siegle would like to know more.

Jody Siegle, Monroe County School Boards Association, said, “I'm really not sure. It won't be if very large numbers of districts opt to do that. He may want to see that as an initial amount of money because if school districts choose to extend the day or school year, it's going to take some planning and some negotiations. I would expect there would be fewer districts the first year than there would be later on.”

The governor acknowledged that school districts are struggling with teacher pension costs and his budget would include about $200 million to help schools cope with that.

But schools say just that's less than half of what the increase is—just for this coming year. But Siegle brings up another new mandated costs on the horizon. For example, in 2014, state tests will be administered online and Siegle says that could add millions to the school's costs just for computer. That burden could fall on taxpayers