Schools see boost in new state budget

Some local schools are the big winners in the new state budget, which passed Wednesday more than a week after the April 1 deadline.

Lawmakers finally settled on a $121.7 billion plan that calls for an increase of nearly 5 percent in spending. To pay for it, the state cigarette tax will go up another $1.25 per pack. Other fees and surcharges are also rising.

Schools statewide are getting a historic $1.75 billion boost in education aid. Yonkers will get 7 percent more than last year and New Rochelle will see a 9 percent increase. Eastchester will receive the largest boost of 33 percent. In Hudson Valley, the Monroe-Woodbury School District is looking at a 7 percent spike, while East Ramapo will see the smallest boost at 4.5 percent.

Despite Yonkers public schools getting an additional $16 million in state aid, the school superintendent says that won't be enough to close a budget gap. Some school programs and up to 200 jobs are in jeopardy.

While the money will be helpful for many districts, parents in Yonkers say they are seeking additional financial help from other sources, including Empire City at Yonkers Raceway.

State legislators say that the school aid hike should be enough to ease increases in local school taxes.

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