Budget Wins for Education

The following message is from Kathy Lyons, NYSUT Nassau County Regional Retiree Consultant —

Thank you for a job well done.
You spoke up, your voice was heard and we won!

The NY State Legislature voted to approve a budget on Thursday, March 31st. Negotiations always require compromise and so we did not prevail on all fronts but thanks to the support of NYSUT members, both in-service and retiree, there were significant wins for education and retirees included in the 2016-17 budget.

Some highlights:

School Aid:

An increase of $1.4 billion in school aid which reflects a $626.6 million in foundation aid and the elimination of the GEA (Gap Elimination Adjustment which was an emergency imitative enacted during the recession) and restoration of the funds to schools districts in the amount of $433.6 million.

Health Care:

NYSUT defeated the proposal to freeze the reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums at $104.90 for NYSHIP retirees with Medicare primary insurance and also defeated the proposal to eliminate the reimbursement of the (IRMAA) Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount for certain NYSHIP retirees.

NYSUT defeated the proposal to increase health insurance premiums for state employees who are enrolled in NYSHIP and were planning on retiring on or after October 1, 2016.

School Vouchers and Tax Credits:

The Parental Choice in Education Act, as proposed in the Executive Budget, was not included in the final budget. No back door voucher schemes were included in the final budget.

Charter Schools:

Due to the strong advocacy efforts of NYSUT and its members and education coalition partners, nearly all of the harmful policy language on charter schools was not included in the final budget. A $54 million increase, or $430 per pupil, was included in the final budget for charter schools. These funds will be paid for entirely by the state.

The NYC charter school rent aid was made permanent and language was included to streamline applications by which charter schools could apply for co-location.