School News

Challenges ahead for Valley Stream schools

State aid increases likely, but costs continue to soar


Valley Stream school officials agree that the next few months will be challenging as they put together spending plans for the 2013-14 school year. All four districts are expected to receive an increase in state aid next year, however, which should make the task a little easier.

In Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tentative state budget, released last week, total aid to education would increase by $889 million. Valley Stream schools would see some of that, though nothing will be finalized until the Legislature adopts the budget in the spring.

Under Cuomo’s spending plan, the Central High School District would receive $17.3 million in state aid, an increase of about 5 percent. But Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich is proceeding cautiously because, he said, one line in the state aid breakdown — transportation aid — is likely several hundred thousand dollars too high.

Aid for items like transportation, BOCES and technology is based on how much a district spends. This year the high school district cut transportation costs by issuing some private-school students MetroCards instead of providing them with transportation. “You save money by not using yellow buses,” he said, “but because you’re not spending money, your aid goes down.”

District 30 would receive $5.4 million in aid, an increase of about $110,000. Lisa Rutkoske, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, said that most of that increase is additional building aid. Otherwise, she said, the governor’s proposal offers little extra money to support the district’s many other rising costs.

In District 24, state aid would rise by more than $600,000, to $5.4 million. “It’s more than what we expected,” said Superintendent Dr. Edward Fale. “It’s not enough to help us maintain programs the way we would want to.”

Fale said that he is hopeful that local state representatives will fight to get Valley Stream districts more money in the final state budget.

Page 1 / 4