State budget agreement increases reimbursement to Catholic schools

Published on March 29th, 2012

The new state budget agreement for Fiscal Year 2012-13 increases reimbursement to religious and independent schools by $20 million over last year, reversing a recent trend of underpayment. (Please send a thank you email by going HERE.)

The legislature accepted Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal to once again fully reimburse these schools under the Mandated Services Reimbursement (MSR) program (adding an additional $13 million from last year’s appropriation). The three-way agreement between the governor and the two houses of the legislature also added an additional $7 million in reimbursement to the Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP) mandate. More importantly, the language of the budget agreement restores the original formula used to calculate the reimbursement for CAP, as proposed by the state Senate. An error several years ago by the State Education Department led to a formula that did not include all expenses religious and independent schools expend in complying with the mandate.

Total reimbursement for MSR is set at $90.4 million, with an additional $33.2 million for CAP.

“We are very grateful to Gov. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and their members for recognizing the injustice of providing less than full reimbursement for expenses incurred in programs that the state mandates that our schools undertake,” said Richard E. Barnes, executive director of the New York State Catholic Conference. “In a time of continuing fiscal challenges for our schools, literally every dollar is important. The state’s action will help provide relief from the ever-increasing burden on tuition-paying families in Catholic schools.”

The Catholic Conference represents New York State’s Bishops in matters of public policy.

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