Analysis of New York State Gov. Cuomo’s 2013-14 Executive Budget Proposal


On Tuesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo released his Executive Budget  proposal for New York State’s 2013-2014 fiscal year. The following is an analysis of  the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal that was put together through the work of  the New York State Catholic Conference, the UJA, and the OU-TeachNYS.

Summary:

To provide a brief summary, in the proposed budget, CAP and Mandated Services  were increased by 4 percent, from $123,620,000 to $128,565,000. This increase  represents an additional $12.36 per non-public school student (amount varies per  school based on attendance reporting).

The bad news is that this increase is very modest and falls far short of the funding needed to fully reimburse our schools. The  good news is that despite New York State having a budget deficit, we were able to  prevent the reduction of these funds and were fortunate to get any increase at all. In  addition, the fact that this was mentioned in the Executive Budget proposal is a positive  one, as these funding sources, in their entirety, were left out of past budget proposals.

Having it included this year gives us a baseline for negotiations with the administration.  Please feel free to call me at 212-613-8353 or via email at JLeb@ou.org with any  questions or comments.

Mandated Services and CAP Reimbursement:

A total of $128,565,000 is allocated for Mandated Services (MSR) and CAP representing a total  increase of $4,945,000 – or 4 percent. The recommendation, however, falls approximately $20  million short of the nearly $150 million that is needed to keep the state’s prior-year debt from growing  beyond the total estimated debt of $210 million. In short, the Governor’s budget proposal actually  increases the state’s debt to religious and independent schools by some $20 million to approximately  $230 million.

The Governor’s recommended appropriations are broken down in two parts:

 $94,016,000– for Mandated Services Reimbursement, an increase of $3,616,000 over  last year and likely more than what is needed to cover the 2012-13 school year  SR  expenses. We anticipate that the additional funds will be used to partially pay down the  more than $30 million in debt under the regular MSR program.

 $34,549,000– for CAP Reimbursement. While this represents an increase of  $1,329,000 over last year, it remains approximately $24 million short of the estimated
$58 million that is needed to reimburse schools for their 2011-12 school year CAP  expenses. Last year’s 2012 – 2013 enacted state budget included an important
agreement that restored the original CAP reimbursement formula beginning with the  2011-12 school year CAP expenses, and thereby re-established the state’s obligation to
reimburse schools for their actual CAP costs. The Governor’s recommended  appropriation not only fails to meet the obligation established by that agreement, his budget language for CAP actually limits the state’s liability for the 2011-12 school year to the recommended $34,549,000 appropriation – a complete reversal of the agreement
enacted last year*.

*IMPORTANT NOTE: After further research, we have learned that this particular language  was in error and will be fixed during the 20-day amendment period.

Other Funding:

Recommended funding for all other programs benefiting religious and independent  schools remained unchanged from last year’s funding levels:

  • Academic Intervention Services: $922,000
  • Learning Technology Grants: $3.29 million
  • Textbook Aid: $58.25 per pupil
  • Software Aid: $14.98 per pupil
  • Hardware Aid: Average of $12 per pupil
  • Library Materials: $6.25 per pupil
  • School Bus Driver Training: $400,000

Conclusion:

While we are happy that the Governor proposed an increase to CAP and MSR, we are not satisfied  with the proposed rate of 4%. Working alongside the Catholic Conference and the UJA, it is our hope  that with continued communication with our elected officials, we can advocate for a larger  reimbursement rate and pass other legislation that will be helpful to servicing the needs of the nonpublic school community.

Jeff Leb

NYS Director of Political Affairs
Orthodox Union (OU) -Teach NYS Initiative
11 Broadway, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Tel – 212-613-8353
Cell- 917-656-2234
JLeb@ou.org