Governor's Proposed Budget: Primary and Secondary Education

In his recently released executive budget for state fiscal year 1998-99, the Governor proposes $11.5 billion in statewide education aid for the 1998-99 school year, an increase of $518 million or almost 5 percent over this year's budget. For New York City, the budget would mean $189 million more in state funding than this school year, for a total of $4.1 billion. The city's share of total state aid remains at 35.4 percent.

In addition to increases in formula aid that support local education generally, the Governor proposes new spending for specific purposes. The major elements of this year's budget were actually passed into law in last year's budget and some are part of multi-year efforts that will reach full funding in 2002. The following table itemizes the new programs and the city's 1998-99 share of each. (The city's share after 1998-99 has not yet been determined.)

The Governor's proposal to allocate $50 million for the expansion of pre-kindergarten is part of a multi-year effort that, by 2002 when new funding will reach $500 million, is meant to make pre-K education available to all 4-year olds. Also in support of early childhood education, the budget includes substantial funding, starting in September 1999, to reduce K to 3 class sizes (a goal for which a proposal and funding can also be found in the President's budget released last week). The $14 million for full-day kindergarten is incentive money meant to encourage localities to provide this service; it would have no impact on the city since full-day is already the standard.

The Governor's proposal also includes new initiatives that do not start until the 1999-2000 budget year. He proposes a summer school program for students between 3rd and 4th grade who demonstrate substandard performance ($45 million) and an English immersion summer program for children in kindergarten through 2nd grade with limited english proficiency ($20 million). Funding levels for these programs after 2000 are unspecified at this point.

The budget does not include additional funding for prior-year payables. If the current statewide budget of only $21.8 million for prior-year payables does not increase, the city's large balance of unpaid claims will remain outstanding.

The Governor's budget is the starting point for budget negotiations with the legislature. In recent years, the budget eventually adopted included more education spending than originally proposed by the Governor.