A new reward for school failure? by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

The Yonkers school district will be the first to get a special added state aid handout from a $100 million "Upstate Distressed Schools Fund" announced over the weekend by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

But it's not as if public schools in the City of Gracious Living have been shortchanged.

“Warning”: taxes might not rise by Ken Girardin | | NY Torch

Don't look now, but given current inflation trends, next year's school property tax cap may be ... zero!

That's the message of a statement released last week by the Educational Conference Board (ECB), a coalition of groups representing public school administrators, school boards and—last but hardly least—the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) labor union.

The ECB's "warning" was meant as an inside-the-Albany-bubble scare tactic, but for most New Yorkers, it's good news: further confirmation that the tax cap is working exactly as intended.

Costs Up, Enrollment Down in NY Schools | Press Releases, Reports

Per-pupil spending in the 669 school districts outside New York’s five largest cities will climb next year by 2.5 percent, nearly twice the projected inflation rate, according to an analysis released today by the Empire Center for Public Policy. The analysis indicates that school districts' per-pupil property tax levies will increase by 2.1 percent in 2015-16.

Bankrolling Buffalo’s botox by Ken Girardin | | NY Torch

School districts across New York are clamoring for a full restoration of state aid cuts known as the Gap Elimination Adjustment, or GEA. But a look at spending in the state's second-largest city illustrates how this battle is not necessarily all about the kids.

“Smart” sounded good to 62% by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Who could be against “smart schools”?

The unsurprising answer: not nearly enough New Yorkers to defeat Proposal 3 on yesterday’s statewide ballot, which authorizes $2 billion in state borrowing to finance local school district purchases of computers and other classroom technology; expand schools’ high-speed and wireless Internet capacity; install “high-tech security features”; and build new classrooms for pre-kindergarten programs.

NY tops school spending — again by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

New York once again tops the 50-state (plus D.C.) rankings of per-pupil spending in the latest U.S. Census Bureau data on public school finances.

As of 2012, public schools in the Empire State spent $19,552 per pupil—84 percent above the U.S. average, according to the latest annual Census Bureau report, which was released today.

The gap between New York and the rest of the U.S. has increased significantly during the latest six years for which the Census Bureau has compiled these statistics. As of 2005-06, New York’s per pupil spending was 63 percent above average.

Google guy to weigh in on school tech funds? by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, has been named by Governor Cuomo to a commission “charged with advising the State on how to best invest the Governor’s proposed $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act in order to enhance teaching and learning through technology,” as announced by the governor’s office today.*

What’s driving K-12 school costs? by E.J. McMahon | | Reports

The full extent of the continuing rise in school spending since the recession was not inevitable or unavoidable. It was the result of (a) increasing teacher compensation costs driven largely by automatic pay raises, and (b) continued relatively high levels of staffing, relative to enrollment, especially in non-teaching titles.