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Sen. Griffo wants $240 million distributed to high needs districts

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POTSDAM - Sen. Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, is advocating for the redistribution of $240 million in school aid to high need districts.

As a result of their failure to file the required teacher’s evaluation plan by the Jan. 17 deadline, six downstate school districts forfeited their access to an increase in state aid for the 2012-2013 school year.

“As a result of those schools that did not file there’s $240 million I think should be redirected into education aid targeted for low wealth, high needs districts,” Mr. Griffo said.

Mr. Griffo said he has picked up some support for the idea. Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, said she will wait to learn more details, but is open to the idea.

Assemblyman Kenneth J. Blankenbush, R-Black River, said he is in support of Mr. Griffo’s proposal.

But Mr. Griffo said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo may be calculating the $240 million as a source of savings for the state.

“The governor may be using this in the budget as a savings,” Mr. Griffo said.

Spokesperson for the governor, Richard Azzopardi, said the money wasn’t in the budget, but declined to comment on Mr. Griffo’s proposal.

“[The governor’s office] can work with us now if they really care about school districts,” Mr. Griffo said.

“This is now in the hands of the Legislature,” he said.

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