It’s a common misconception around New York State that every resident of Nassau County is rich. Thanks to this unfounded belief, the Governor and a majority of the State Legislature feels it’s appropriate not to give Nassau County kids their “fair share” of state educational aid. Why? Because we are “too rich” and don’t need. Boy, are they are wrong.
Year after year, Long Island schools are disadvantaged by a funding formula that is inherently bias against it. This funding formula was created to favor urban areas like New York City, Buffalo and Syracuse while forgetting about suburban counties like Nassau and Suffolk counties – two areas that educate approximately 18% of the state’s children. But, due to the unfair education formula, we receive only 12% of education aid in the State budget back – a number which falls far short of what we are due. Despite these facts, our kids and school districts consistently get cheated out of their fair share of educational aid. This year is no different. Under Governor Cuomo’s proposed Executive Budget for 2013-2014, New York City schools receive $129 per student in educational aid; upstate schools receive $119 per student; but schools in Nassau and Suffolk County only receive $66 per student in aid. That’s a startling disparity.
Governor Cuomo has drastically cut the high-tax aid and building aid portions of the educational funding formula, directly affecting our schools. Nassau County was cut $19.6 million dollars in high-tax aid this year under the proposed budget, representing a 35% reduction. Overall, Nassau and Suffolk Counties suffer 74% of the statewide reduction in high-tax aid by Governor Cuomo. As Long Island homeowners pay the highest taxes in New York, my colleagues in the Legislature from Nassau and Suffolk and I have consistently worked to lessen the burden by providing highly-taxed working families and seniors with school tax relief.
By directly giving school districts much-needed funding in the form of high-tax and building aid, the impact of school taxes on our working families and seniors are lessened. This year we are met with great resistance.