Senate Candidate Julie Killian Calls on Lawmakers to Treat Westchester Fairly in State Budget
As the Assembly and Senate prepare to submit their state budget proposals this week, Senate candidate Julie Killian (R-Rye) today called on lawmakers to fix inequities in state school aid distribution responsible for Westchester County’s sky-high property taxes. Killian also blasted Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer for diverting hundreds of millions of dollars in state school aid from Westchester to New York City when she was the top lawyer for the State Senate.
In the 2017-18 State Budget, Westchester County schools received an average of $5,218 per pupil from New York State. That is less than any other county in the state. Overall, state aid represents 19% of education spending in Westchester County, while state aid constitutes 38% of school district spending statewide. In NYC, 38% of their education revenue comes from the State.
“Westchester County receives less state funding per student than any other county in New York State. It’s no coincidence that we also pay the nation’s highest property taxes,” Killian said. “I will stand up for Westchester taxpayers in the State Senate because our hardworking families deserve to be treated fairly. We must fight to ensure every one of our children has access to the best education available, and at the same time, reduce property taxes and make it more affordable to live, work and raise a family here,” Killian said.
Unfortunately, not only has Assemblywoman Mayer voted for state budgets that continually shortchange Westchester schools, but, when she served as the top lawyer to two Senate leaders who were both sent to prison for corruption, Mayer wrote the law creating the Gap Elimination Adjustment school aid cut, which stripped $373 million from Westchester students and diverted funding to New York City.
“Shelley Mayer has been an Albany Insider for decades. Time and again, she’s diverted funding away from Westchester schools and hurt local property taxpayers,” Killian concluded. “I will stand up for Westchester and insist we are finally treated fairly.”
Because of the state’s unfair funding mechanism, the City of Yonkers has been unable to finance its proposed $2 billion, 13-year school reconstruction plan to alleviate overcrowding and replace the 39 crumbling buildings that house the city’s 27,000 public school students. While almost 80% of families in the Yonkers Public Schools are economically disadvantaged, Shelley Mayer has failed to increase Yonkers’ 73% state reimbursement rate to match the 98% state gives to Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse-paid for by your tax dollars.
Further, Yonkers municipal contribution to the school system is $240 million this year. Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse contribute roughly $240 million combined.
“We can’t afford to keep sending the same people to Albany because we will continue to get the same result,” Killian said. “We must do better. Our hard-working taxpayers deserve nothing less. It's time for change.”
Julie Killian is running on the Republican, Conservative and Reform Party lines in the Special Election on April 24. Senate District 37 includes the towns and municipalities of: Armonk, Bedford, Bronxville, Crestwood, Eastchester, Harrison, Katonah, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, North Castle, New Rochelle, Port Chester, Rye City, Rye Brook, Tuckahoe, White Plains and Yonkers.