Schools see boost in new state budget

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

Schools statewide are getting a historic $1.75 billion boost in education aid. Orange County is seeing an 8.3 percent increase this year, which equals more than $545 million. The school district getting the highest increase is Cornwall, with nearly a 16.9 percent jump over last year. The lowest increase is in the Warwick Valley School District with just less than 4 percent.In Rockland, the total increase is 8.5 percent, which is about $16.5 million. T he Pearl River School District will see a jump of more than 25 percent, while East Ramapo will see the smallest boost at 4.1 percent.

East Ramapo School Board President Nathan Rothschild says he is appalled by the boost in state school aid. He anticipates the move will mean tremendous problems for a district he calls "high needs." Rothschild worries taxpayers can't support it all and says the other alternative is to cut school programs. Rothschild wants to take his fight to Albany, hoping for a chance.

In Pearl River, it is a much different story. Parents say they are relieved because the increase in state aid to their district will help ease the burden on local taxpayers. The Pearl River school superintendent says the boost in aid will enable the district to take a look at the projected tax increase and hopefully decrease it by at least a percent.

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.NYLegislature passes state budget

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