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Guv's Proposed Budget Reduces Aid to Bellmore, N. Merrick Schools

Editor's Note: This article was written and submitted by Tara Conry and Michael Ganci.

The $142.6 billion proposed budget that Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled earlier this week increases total education spending by $889 million, but would reduce state aid to both the Bellmore and North Merrick School Districts.

The 4.4 percent year-to-year increase in education aid proposed in Cuomo's budget would benefit some local school districts. The Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District would receive a 5.8 percent increase ($976,310) to raise the aid to $17,903,056.

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“The reality of the percentage Bellmore-Merrick School District actually receives in state aid may be much lower than what NY Governor Cuomo has proposed,” the district said in a statement. “This is due to a number of variables, including an overstatement of Transportation Aid in the 2013-14 school year.” The actual amount of state aid will be finalized later in the spring. The District is grateful for the financial assistance to support our students' programs and educational initiatives.”

Merrick is slated to get a modest 2.5 percent ($120,799) bump in aid, bringing its total to $5,035,272 including building aid.

“The general school aid increase to Merrick is 1.95 percent ($86,667),” Merrick Superintendent Dr. Dominick Palma told Patch. “The 2.46 percent increase is inclusive of building aid which is expense driven. While I am pleased to see an increase in school aid, it is discouraging that the increase neither met the reported overall statewide school aid increase of 3 percent nor met the increase in CPI.  As we begin the process of preparing the 2013-2014, we will work to incorporate the aid projections and the property tax levy cap into a fiscally prudent plan which preserves services to our students.”

North Bellmore would also get an increase of .6 percent ($68,316) in Cuomo’s proposed budget to move their total number to $11,138,430.

The North Merrick School District would be reduced by 1.9 percent ($102,433) to bring its number to $5,407,986. Bellmore would be cut as well, this time by 1.3 percent ($51,477), which would move their total number to $3,880,854.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive budget calls for cutting "high tax aid" by close to a third. Across the entire state budget, the amount allocated for high tax aid is being cut $50 million, bringing the total down to $154.7 million, reports Southhampton Patch. A greater portion of the aid will be directed to school districts with lower wealth and high property taxes.

According to the Briefing Book released by the state, "By redirecting High Tax Aid and increasing the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) restoration, the Executive Budget promotes a more equitable distribution of aid to school districts."

These figures do not include other education aid that will also be distributed to school districts across the state for the 2013-14 school year including $203 million in Fiscal Stabilization Funding, $75 million in State of the State Initiatives including Full-Day Pre-kindergarten and Extended Learning grants, and $50 million in performance and management efficiency grants that will be distributed through a competitive process. Funding that has not yet been distributed to specific school districts represents 37 percent of the overall year-to-year increase in Education Aid.

The Bellmore, North Bellmore and North Merrick School Districts did not return emails for comment.
LISA February 05, 2013 at 02:04 PM
Dear Governor Cuomo, You are going to drowned us in taxes, sincerely, North Merrick tax payer, Lisa Conlon
Greg Bashaw February 07, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Fellow Taxpayers NO wonde rGvnr. Cuomo is reducing aid to our districts, He undoubtedly looks at our districts and thinks by the size of the compensation packages that we pay our multiple Superitendent's that we donot need his aid. THIS IS FACT. Governor Cuomo has continuously stressed that he believes Superitendents should not be compensated MORE than 175,000 per year in salary. In North Bellmore ALONE we have administrative personnel that have been JUSTbeen acquired that make more than 185,000. Our retiring Superitendent makes over 240K per year and when the Board hires they should make certain that we pay inline with what the Governor deems acceptable. Otherwise this lack of AID will only get worse. Financially speaking think about, would you send a district more AID when they continually spend more than generously on multiple positions. Greg

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