MARLBORO — Elected officials and administrators from the Marlboro Central School District announced a historic increase in state education funding for the coming budget year on Monday.
Marlboro is receiving a $1.8 million education aid increase and is tied for first place in the state in terms of education aid increases. It is a total increase of 24 percent and will include coverage of programs like all-day kindergarten and universal pre-k. The district will have 42 pre-k seats this fall and $270,000 of the total funding will go to pre-k programs within the district.
This funding will become the new baseline for the district’s state aid and continue in perpetuity.
The funding does not come at the cost of increased property taxes for district residents. In fact, taxes will show a three percent decrease.
“While 2020 held extraordinary challenges for school districts everywhere,” noted Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson (D, Newburgh). “I am proud that we have delivered an historic level of school funding, including funding for pre-k, and that Senator Skoufis and I were able to secure a waiver for the penalty against the Marlboro Central School District. This will allow Superintendent Brooks and his team to devote their full resources to helping students learn as we transition to a post-pandemic world.”
Senator James Skoufis (D-Cornwall) said the victory isn’t Marlboro’s alone; these funding increases will be seen across his district and the rest of the state. He said during budget negotiations, an agreement was made to ensure all state school districts receive a minimum of 60 percent of the Foundation Aid Formula funding. It just so happens that Marlboro was one of many districts that had been receiving much less in previous years, thus the larger increase.
“Some school districts have been getting 70, 80 percent of what they’re supposed to get from the formula. Other school districts, like Marlboro, have been getting under 50 percent of what they’ve been owed under the formula,” said Skoufis. “One of the very important things we did was to bring every district in the state, at least, up to 60 percent of what they’re supposed to get. Next year will be 80. The following year will be 100,” he said.
Marlboro Board of Education President Frank Milazzo said the fight for Foundation Aid has been going on for a very long time and the district was doing all they could to keep the burden off of the taxpayers.
“We’ve been fighting this fight for Foundation Aid to be able to assist the taxpayers. We’ve done everything in our power that we can within the confines of the tax cap, dealing with tax usuries from our two power plants and trying to maintain program and it’s been a battle. It’s been a very difficult battle,” said Milazzo.
Both education and elected officials agreed that this funding is overdue and is going to afford great benefit to students, residents and local businesses.