Schools are breathing what will likely be a temporary sigh of relief.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced last week that changes she had recommended in her executive budget to the Foundation Aid formula, the primary school funding formula, would wait until next year’s budget.

Among the changes the governor recommended were an end to "Save Harmless," which ensures school districts don’t receive less aid than they did the year before, and a change in the way inflation is calculated.

The question now is what this will mean for school districts this year as well as next year.

State Sen. Shelley Mayer, chair on the Senate Education Committee, told Capital Tonight that it appears that changes to "Save Harmless" will not appear in this year’s budget, but it’s not clear whether the governor’s changes to the inflation factor will be included or not.

“I think this [which inflation factor will be used in this year’s budget] is not entirely resolved,” Mayer said. “We’re not at the final point. Everything is not wrapped up with a bow.”

But the Westchester Democrat praised the governor for hearing criticism from school districts and taking action. 

“We are moving in a better direction by the governor really hearing the outcry and recognizing that she made an abrupt decision that really caused such consternation among school districts and parents,” Mayer said.

Capital Tonight asked Robert Lowry, deputy director for advocacy, research and communications for the New York State Council of School Superintendents, if he assumes that next year the governor will try to implement the same cuts to the Foundation Aid formula that she tried this year.

“I’m interpreting her comments, where she said, we’re setting in motion a process and giving everyone the notice and warning they all said they needed,” Lowry said. “I don’t know what she intends by that. I haven’t talked to her. I haven’t talked to anyone in the budget division for some time. But to me the implication of that is that she anticipates one result of this process would be some reductions in 'Save-Harmless.'"

According to Lowry, if the governor’s intent was to save money by eliminating the "Save Harmless" provision of the Foundation Aid formula, she would have been only somewhat successful.

Under the governor’s budget proposal, "Save Harmless" would amount to $374 million before cuts, which is equivalent to 1.1% of total school aid or 0.29% of total state spending, exclusive of federal funds.

“Even if you got rid of every cent of 'Save Harmless' money, I don’t think you’re dramatically affecting sustainability of overall state funding levels,” Lowry estimated.

It’s not yet clear to Lowry or Sen. Mayer if the $1 million requested by the state Education Department to fund a new Foundation Aid study will be included in this year’s state budget.