“I thought we had it bad at West Genesee,” he said. “But I heard the stories of the representatives from Auburn. I heard about how chronically they were underfunded.”
Those discussions were in Mannion’s mind during the budget process. As the lone member of Cayuga County’s state delegation that caucuses with a majority conference, he was in a stronger position to advocate for the Auburn school district.
The 2021-22 state budget contains $3 billion more in school aid. While that will bring much-needed funding to Auburn and other school districts, Mannion knows it doesn’t address the long-standing problems with the education funding formula.
For years, state lawmakers have complained about the way foundation aid is distributed in New York. The formula, they say, is outdated. This leads to some districts, including Auburn, receiving less money per pupil than others.
The aid formula has had an adverse effect on Auburn. Mannion explained that it affects the programs offered to students. It can result in fewer aides and longer bus rides.
With the additional funding, Pirozzolo said they can offer more art and music programs. He also said the district plans to create more support services positions and hiring more counselors and social workers.
But Mannion acknowledged that there is more work to do to fix the problems with how schools are funded in New York.