We have always recognized quality education as our principal regional asset and are committed to good schools on Long Island. Education is the lynch pin of economic revitalization and growth. It is the foundation of our middle class and the means of social and economic advancement for Long Island’s newer populations.
State aid on Long Island lags compared to other regions of the state. We educate 17% of the state’s children but receive only about 12% of the state’s school aid. It is a misperception to see Long Island as a uniformly wealthy region; nearly 38% of students are enrolled in twenty-nine school districts with wealth levels below the state average.
Our schools are experiencing the sharpest cuts in 20 years with a reduction in state aid of over $206 million this year on top of $173 million last year. The recently enacted property tax cap limits property tax cap collections to two percent or the inflation rate, whichever is less. At the same time districts are facing the termination of federal stimulus money.
On a positive note, Governor Cuomo and state legislators reached a revenue agreement in December that will increase school funding by 4 percent for 2012-13 by raising taxes on the wealthiest New Yorkers.