A trend of decreases in school funding mandates is continued in President Bush's proposed budget, a couple of school administrators said Wednesday.
They spoke on the issue after a news release that day by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. regarding 2009 Title I funding grants being proposed by Bush. The funds are used primarily to help students who have been identified as having a weakness in such areas as reading or writing, an educator said.
Schumer compared the proposed funding to the cost of fully funding the program under the No Child Left Behind federal education program; he concluded that upstate schools are being shortchanged $180 million.
"It has been on a downward spiral for a long time," Unatego business manager Nicholas Rosas said about the funding.
According to the release, the budget would provide $243,200 for Unatego Title I programs. This plan would be $107,400 less than full funding.
The district received $258,000 for the area in 2007-08, using the funds to pay some staff members who provide academic intervention services in elementary grades, he said.
As an example of the decline, Rosas said, the district received $388,000 in 2004-05 from the program.
Since the federal budget is scheduled to be approved in October, and school boards are required to approve a budget in April to go before voters in May, he will have to "guesstimate" what the allocation would be.
The same is true at Unadilla Valley Central School, where superintendent Robert Mackey said the district received $295,000 in Title I funds in 2007-08. It would receive $289,000 in 2008-09 under the Bush proposal.
"We haven't seen full funding once in any given year," he said. "We are used to that.
"Any cuts hurt," especially under current fiscal conditions, he said.
"We are conservative and we will be cautious," he said.
But if the federal budget turns out to be worse for the district than anticipated, cuts will have to be made, he said.
However, Mackey said he was hopeful that the current discussions represented "political posturing."