Most North Shore schools receive increases in aid under new state budget

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Most North Shore schools receive increases in aid under new state budget
Gov. Kathy Hochul. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Nassau County schools will receive a year-to-year 5.69% boost in state aid, with a majority of North Shore districts seeing increases from the prior year and from Gov. Kathy Hochul's initial proposal.

The New York State Legislature adopted the 2024-2025 $237 billion state budget nearly three weeks late Saturday, which encompassed an additional $1.3 billion in school state aid and the continuation of the foundation aid Hold Harmless policy.

Overall, more than $35.3 billion is being allocated to schools throughout the state, increasing by 3.82% from the prior year.

Also adopted in the budget is a 421-p tax incentive to construct housing outside New York City, including $650 million in discretionary funds for pro-housing communities, $500 million for the construction of up to 15,000 new homes on state land and incentives for accessory dwelling units.

The school aid increase comes after months of pushback from local school districts opposing the governor’s proposal to repeal Hold Harmless, a procedure that ensures school districts receive the same amount or more in foundation aid from year to year.

But with all school districts adopting budgets before the state budget passage, it is uncertain how these late school aid numbers will impact their budgets.

The Manhasset School District was at the forefront in advocating for the continuation of the Hold Harmless policy, with nearly every budget meeting including a push for residents to advocate for the re-implementation and to reach out to their representatives.

The district was facing a $629,000, or 20.7%, drop in its foundation aid. Yet it crafted its budget on the assumption that these funds would be restored. If it was not restored, then its fallback was fulfilling those $629,000 in missing funds with FEMA recovery funds.

The Manhasset School District will now be receiving the largest proportional increase in state aid with a 25.4% boost. In total, it will be getting $6,318,661 in state aid, a $1,279,686 increase from the prior year.

The state aid numbers are based on state legislation as reported by Newsday. The state aid numbers represent the total state aid, with breakdowns for foundation aid not available.

Included in the state aid proposals is the allocation of nearly $1 million for universal pre-K, which some schools are unable to utilize if they do not have such a program.

Some school districts that conduct pre-K with an external school have said these funds go directly to the preschool and are not seen at all by the district.

Of the 11 school districts on the North Shore, the only one to face a drop is New Hyde Park-Garden City Park with 1.99% fewer state aid funds. In total, they will receive $11,804,464, or $239,271 less than the prior year.

While receiving a nearly 2% drop, the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park was initially proposed to get a 2.13% decrease in state aid under the governor’s first proposal.

The Port Washington School District and the Mineola School District were both also proposed to receive a decrease in state aid under the governor’s initial proposal, but will now receive increases.

For Port Washington, this is a jump from a 0.61% decrease to a 1.12% increase. This amounts to a total of $20,966,339, or $231,411 more funds than the prior year.

The Port Washington Board of Education adopted its $194.5 million budget for the next school year – which includes a 4.55% tax increase exceeding the allowable tax cap – before the state passed its budget.

Port Washington Board of Education President Adam Smith said at the meeting to adopt the budget that a session would be held to discuss any budget changes in light of changing state aid. It is unknown if such a meeting will be held yet.

The Mineola School District was also initially given a 0.63% state aid cut, but under the adopted state budget it will be getting a 1.91% increase. It will receive a total of $15,129,946, a $284,067 increase.

Two school districts, though, will be seeing drops in their state aid from what the governor proposed yet still maintain overall increases. This includes the Roslyn School District going from a 10.17% increase to 10.15%, and Floral Park-Bellerose School District from a 4.97% increase to 4.18%.

The other school districts receiving increases in their state aid compared to the governor’s initial proposal are East Williston from 4.69% to 6.24%, Great Neck from 3.65% to 5.92%, Herricks from 6.58% to 8.32%, North Shore from 5.27% to 8.01% and Sewanhaka from 1.57% to 1.6%.

A total of $2,037,180,728 in state aid funding is being allocated to Nassau County schools, an increase of $109,615,547 from the prior year. This is $18,879,962 greater than what the governor proposed for the country in January.

Long Island school districts will be receiving $5,049,335,320 in state aid, a 4.24% increase from the prior year.

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