This could be another indication that the Cuomo Administration is playing hardball or it could be in keeping with Wednesday’s unusual combination of holding the State of the State speech and budget presentation on the same day, but for the first time in recent memory, the Budget Division hasn’t put out school runs.
School runs are those lengthy listings of how much additional money each of the state’s nearly 700 school districts would get under the governor’s budget proposal.
They have been something of a tradition in local papers which for years and within hours of the budget presentation would dutifully put the estimates in charts in their papers, or more recently, in their on-line editions.
The runs outline various categories of school spending ranging from building aid to extra help for academics to transportation aid and even BOCES-related costs.
But this year, in a press briefing after State of the State, outgoing Budget Director Bob Megna, who is heading to the Thruway Authority, said there are no school runs and won’t be until the Legislature passes Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s education reform agenda which includes increasing from three to five years the time needed for tenure, allowing more charter schools and making state test results the basis for 50 percent of teacher evaluations.
These ideas have been rebuffed in one way or another by lawmakers, especially Democrats and the governor realizes he’ll have a battle ahead of him in getting them passed. Thus Cuomo’s stance that, before he releases a $1.1 billion school aid increase, he wants the reforms.
“The more important thing right now is getting the reforms done,” Megna told reporters at the budget briefing, which took place outside of The Egg’s Hart theater upstairs from the convention hall where Cuomo spoke.
“There’s no need to have school aid runs until we have an agreement,” he added.
Have seen a few optimists out there saying Cuomo won't get most of his reforms.
Hope they're right and I'm wrong.
But as I wrote earlier, Speaker Silver is already indicating the APPR and tenure reforms are negotiable and Cuomo is making clear, no money for schools unless he gets his reforms in the budget deal.
Obviously he'll have to fund schools eventually, but not providing the school runs is clearly an indication that school aid will be held hostage to his reforms.