Allow me to put Gov. David Paterson's proposal to cut school aid in perspective.
If Paterson's proposal was enacted, school districts across the state would still get more aid from Albany than last year. It would just be less of an increase. State education aid would would increase $1 billion, rather than $1.8 billion, which would amount to a 5 percent increase over last budget year.
Second, districts are required to maintain reserves to cover unanticipated developments like this.
Third, the deficit clouds were already forming when Albany agreed to the record increase in school aid in April. You could see this midyear correction coming a mile away. But that didn't stop school districts from doing what they always do with more state aid. Spend more.
Nevertheless, we've got school bureaucrats doing their Chicken Little routine.
“It’s unfair and it would be devastating midyear,” Yonkers Superintendent Bernard P. Pierorazio said in this New York Times story.
“That’s a number way too big to deal with midyear,” said Grand Island Superintendent Robert Christmann in today's Buffalo News.
This is the same school district that used its increase in state aid to help boost spending this budget year by 6.5 percent, a bigger increase than all but three of the 28 school districts in Erie County.
Nevertheless, Christmann said the so-called cuts would set off a "tidal wave across New York State."