District Superintendent Says Gov. Cuomo's Budget Deceiving

By Matt Porter

January 23, 2013 Updated Jan 24, 2013 at 2:08 AM EDT

Johnson City, NY (WBNG Binghamton) From increasing energy efficiency to eliminating redundancies, the Johnson City School District has saved hundred of thousands of dollars doing more with less, officials said.

District Business Manager John Mauro says that's been key as state money has dried up in the past few years.

"It's our job to manage it as best we can on behalf of the taxpayers and do the most we can with the little resources we have," Mauro said. "It's been a big struggle putting the budgets together."

Now, Cuomo (D-NY) has promised 4 percent increase to education funding.

But BOCES Superintendent Allen Buyck says that's deceiving because much of the funding is tied to competitive grants for specific programs or outcomes.

"To categorize money into little separate buckets, that may not be where a particular school district needs the help the most," Buyck said.

The governor's budget promises a 4.4 percent increase to the education budget.

However, Buyck said if the competitive grants and other sources of extra funding tied to specific actions are removed, the actual increases for aid to schools in the Southern Tier are anywhere from less than 1 percent to 3 percent.

And Buyck said that increase isn't enough.

The governor said tying more aid to specific requirements like longer school days and performance will help schools become better.

Buyck proposed dividing the money equally, and letting districts decide where money needs to go to improve schools.

"We have to decide if we're going to fund public schools and have that money accessible to all school districts," he said.

The exact details of the budget are yet to be debated.

Some local legislators, including Sen. James Seward (R-51st), have already said they will push to move more funding to school districts' general operating funds instead of competitive grants.