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.

A fuller comparison of school costs by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Charter schools sharing space in New York City public school buildings cost less to operate than traditional public schools, counter to the findings of a 2010 research memo from the Independent Budget Office (IBO), according to a white paper issued today by a research group affiliated with former state comptroller candidate and financial advisor Harry Wilson.

The cap-buster count, 2013 edition | NY Torch

Twenty-seven* school districts were seeking to override the state's property tax cap in yesterday's school budget votes. Twenty of these districts -- or 74 percent -- failed to collect the needed 60 percent supermajority to pass, according to news accounts. The closest result was in the Cornwall School District in Orange County, which fell two votes short of an override supermajority.

Marching for still more school dollars by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

Yesterday brought a march on Albany by something called the “Educate NY Now campaign,” in which the union-backed Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) figures prominently. The demonstration served to bring attention to AQE’slatest statistical hobby horse — an “opportunity gap” created by the $8,601 difference in per-pupil spending among the wealthiest and poorest schooldistricts in New York.

Make way for … Son of CFE! by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) litigation of 1993-2006 established the principle that New York State is constitutionally obligated to ensure funding of a “sound, basic education” for pupils in New York City schools. Today, the state’s highest court cleared the way for a lawsuit claiming that funding levels for about a dozen of New York’s small city school districts doesn’t meet that requirement.

More on education spending by E.J. McMahon | | NY Torch

The Citizens Budget Commission has posted some nifty charts breaking out the difference between New York State and the U.S. averages for different categories of public elementary and secondary school spending. One noteworthy data point: between 1999 and 2009, spending per pupil on employee benefits for instructional staff rose 169 percent in New York...