While education advocates prod Gov. Andrew Cuomo to better fund New York State's urban and rural school districts, the governor is signaling he wants school districts to open up their books and reveal just how much is spent. Education advocates say that premise is a false debate.
Despite Cuomo's claims of record funding for schools, advocates say the state's smallest and largest districts often do not benefit from the complicated formula which is used to determine funding. It's is a complex issue, but in essence boils down to whether school districts are receiving their fair share of state aid from Albany. Education advocates have long argued they have not, while Cuomo has said the state is funding at record levels.
As for Cuomo's challenge, Billy Easton of the Alliance for Quality Education believes it's a misdirection.
"This is just another excuse from Governor Andrew Cuomo for why it is he absolutely refusing to fairly and adequately fund high-needs schools in this state," Easton said. "Governor Cuomo has one of the worst track records when it comes to adequate and equitable funding.
This debate comes at a key time for Cuomo, who may face a challenge in a Democratic primary from Cynthia Nixon, an actress and advocate for public education. At the same time, the Senate and Assembly each will unveil their own budget proposals this week.