St. Lawrence County schools could receive up to 20 percent increase in aid under Assemblywoman Russell's proposed law
Friday, March 15, 2013 - 5:19 pm

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell says many St. Lawrence County schools would receive an average of 18 to 20 percent more state aid if provisions of her School Funding Equity Act (A.4609) are approved.

“The bill will have a dramatic impact on the local share of state foundation aid,” said Russell, whose “River District” includes the northern half of St. Lawrence County.

Russell has been working with the New York State Association of Small City School Districts on the School Funding Equity Act. The association is currently suing the state because of what it says are discriminatory funding policies.

Among the biggest winners would be the Clifton-Fine Central School District, with 71 percent more state aid, or $2.2 million additional; Hammond, with 39 percent more, or $936,392 additional, and Morristown, with 37 percent more, or $1.2 million additional.

The data has been calculated using the assumption that the state fully funds foundation aid.

The amounts are an approximate estimation of the funding “schools are being short-changed in basic school aid,” said Russell. “When the economy recovers and the school aid formula is fully funded, districts will continue to benefit by the same percentage unless the district’s wealth changes considerably.”

Increases projected for other St. Lawrence County school districts if the bill were passed follow:

• Brasher Falls, 17 percent, $1.4 million

• Canton, 15 percent, $1.6 million

• Colton-Pierrepont, 12 percent, $200,910

• Edwards-Knox, 16 percent, $1.1 million

• Gouverneur, 13 percent, $2.1 million

• Hermon-DeKalb, 14 percent, $569,290

• Heuvelton, 10 percent, $538,547

• Lisbon, 15 percent, $714,509

• Madrid-Waddington, 16 percent, $940,818

• Massena, 19 percent, $3.3 million

• Norwood-Norfolk, 14 percent, $1.2 million

• Ogdensburg, 18 percent, $3.1 million

• Parishville-Hopkinton, 27 percent, $1.0 million

• Potsdam, 18 percent, $1.6 million

Some state lawmakers have rejected the formula as too costly “in an effort to discredit the reforms, even though it just changes distribution of whatever money is provided to fund education,” said Russell.

She stressed the projected state aid increases might vary because there have been some minor adjustments since the data was compiled.