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Catholic Advocacy Network
EDUCATION NEWS
March 31, 2015
 
 
 
Lawmakers enact the 2015-16 State Budget;  – leaving Education Tax Credits for another day.
 
 
The Governor and legislative leaders were not able to agree on a number of policy issues in time for them to enact their 5th consecutive on-time state budget – thus leaving those issues for consideration later in the legislative session scheduled to conclude on June 17.  While the Education Tax Credit (ETCs) proposal advanced by the Governor and Senate was among those items not agreed to by the Assembly, a number of important items politically important to the Assembly Democrats were also left undone.  This sets the stage for our seeking enactment of ETCs during negotiations later in the session.
It is very important to realize that due to our collective advocacy efforts, we have made significant progress this year beyond the historic progress we made in 2014 – despite growing opposition from the public school teachers’ unions.  Most notable is the fact that unlike last year, this year Governor Cuomo advanced ETCs in his Executive Budget and fought more aggressively for it.  Our increased advocacy also led to the issue being kept alive in budget negotiations longer this year than last.  The proposal became the focus of lengthy and heated discussions in the closed-door conference of Assembly Democrats wherein there were more members supporting ETCs than there were opposing it. While ETCs were not accepted by the Assembly, the Senate remained strongly committed and refused to accept other Assembly proposals unless ETCs were also accepted.
Outlined below are the 2015-16 enacted appropriations pertinent to religious and independent schools.  
 
Mandated Services and CAP Reimbursement:  A total of $171,416,000 is appropriated for MSR and CAP representing a total increase of $12,623,000, or nearly an 8 percent, over last year’s level.  Language is also included to reiterate the restoration of the CAP reimbursement formula that reflects actual costs beginning with the 2011-12 school year expenses. The appropriations are broken as follows:
·         $102,273,000 – for Mandated Services Reimbursement, an increase of $4,684,000;
·         $47,374,000 – for CAP Reimbursement, an increase of $2,170,000; and
·         $16,768,000 – as a second payment on prior-year liabilities, an increase of $768,000.
·         $5,000,000 – as an additional payment for CAP with formula restoration
Funding for other programs benefiting our schools remained unchanged:
·         School Safety Equipment: $4.5 million for a third round of funding
·         Academic Intervention Services: $922,000
·         Learning Technology Grants: $3.29 million
·         Textbook Aid:  $58.25 per pupil
·         Software Aid:  $14.98 per pupil
·         Hardware Aid:  Average of $12 per pupil
·         Library Materials:  $6.25 per pupil 
·         School Bus Driver Training: $400,000

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