File photo: Peter Blasl

North Fork school districts would see state education aid increase from 2.3 to just over 4 percent under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget proposal, according to education aid numbers released by the state budget division.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele of Sag Harbor is calling the governor’s education aid proposal “inadequate for Long Island” and demanding the elimination of the “gap elimination adjustment,” a reduction in state aid to education aimed at helping to close a $10 billion state budget deficit.

“The GEA was always an ill-considered idea that I opposed. Its purpose was to address a state budget deficit of $10 billion, which no longer exists. The deficit was gone a year ago. The GEA should have been gone also,” Thiele said in a press release yesterday.

“More and more demands are being placed on local school districts to meet higher standards, while at the same time freezing property taxes. To achieve both of these goals, there must be adequate state support of education,” Thiele said.

Thiele is calling for an overall increase in state aid to education, from the $961 million proposed by Cuomo to “at least” $1.8 billion.

“We want better results and we must invest to get those results. With a 0.12 percent tax cap for 2016, we are effectively reducing the reliance on the property tax for education funding, which I support. However, the state must now step up to the plate to do its fair share,” Thiele said.

The foundation aid formula is weighted against Long Island school districts and must be reformed to be fair to Long Island, according to the legislator.

“Do not punish the schools that have been the most successful,” Thiele said.

The final state education aid numbers will not be known until the state lawmakers and the governor agree on an operating budget for the coming fiscal year. The constitutional deadline for budget adoption is April 1.

2016-2017 base aids Riverhead Shoreham-Wading River 
Foundation Aid 13,758,263 6,153,763
Community Schools Aid 0 0
Full Day K conversion 0 0
Universal pre-K 673,254 0
BOCES 1,674,731 876,981
Special Services 0 0
High Cost Excess Cost 897,266 243,870
Private Excess Cost 202,668 55,836
Hardware & Technology 38,205 17,487
Software, library & textbook 502,352 186,464
Transportation 3,635,750 1,299,146
Operating reorg incentive 0 0
Charter school transitional 1,189,242 0
Academic enhancement 0 0
High tax aid 2,256,813 1,167,111
Supplemental pub excess cost 0 0
GAP elimination adjustment -643,547 -629,834
GEA restoration 318,246 192,835
GAP elimination adjustment -325,301 436,999
Subtotal 24,503,243 9,563,659
Building + bldg reorg incent 3,508,553 943,878
TOTAL 28,011,796 10,507,537l
$ change vs 15-16 3,852,393 828,277
% change total aid 15.95 8.56
$ chg w/o bldg reorg bldg aid 1,555,478 355,474
% chg w/o bldg reorg bldg aid 6.78 3.86
Smart schools allocation 2,191,853 1,003,429

Statewide education aid numbers under executive budget proposal available here.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.