If Cuomo Wins Third Term as Governor, N.Y. Districts Could See More Fiscal Scrutiny

By Daarel Burnette II — September 14, 2018 2 min read

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been one of the most aggressive governors in the nation in scrutinizing how districts spend state tax dollars.

With his sound defeat of challenger Cynthia Nixon in Thursday’s Democratic primary, he heads into the November election heavily favored against Republican nominee Marcus Molinaro. So what would that mean for school districts if he wins a third term as governor?

For one thing, districts could expect that any more money they get from the state in the coming years would be heavily scrutinized by Cuomo’s office for how efficiently and effectively it’s spent. Here’s why.

During Cuomo’s first two years in office, he ramped up the weight test scores held in teachers’ evaluations and promised to “bust up the monopoly of public schools. " But, as public sentiment turned against testing and grew more sympathetic toward teachers and public schools, Cuomo in 2016 backed off, turning instead his attention to school funding.

Last year, on the heels of a little-known new requirement under the Every Student Succeeds Act that states report school-level spending, Cuomo signed a bill into law that not only requires districts that receive state funds to report out school-level spending patterns but to have those numbers scrutinized by his budget office. That process began earlier this month.

During his heated campaign against Nixon, he touted his $1 billion increase in state spending last year and told voters that, if elected, he would assure that districts spend its money on students who need it most.

“The real issue is the distribution of that money,” Cuomo said at a press conference in March. “We have an education inequality problem in this state.”

Nixon, who lost in a landslide, had said she would tax the state’s wealthiest residents and corporations to bring $7 billion more to schools.

Elsewhere in the country, progressive gubernatorial candidates in states such as Arizona and Florida in this year’s race are touting higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations as a way to pay for teacher raises and new school construction, among other things. And Republican gubernatorial candidates in Colorado and Oklahoma have, like Cuomo, expressed skepticism that school district officials spend their money on classrooms.

During an especially rowdy debate at Kansas’ state fair last week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach accused a school in Wichita of hiring 12 vice principals, a claim the district vehemently denied.

“My high school had one assistant principal, and I didn’t know what that guy did,” Kobach said. “Why does a school district, or a high school, need 12 assistant principals? We have got to stop spending so much money on administration and spend it instead in the classroom—on the teacher salaries and on the computers and books.”

Don’t miss another State EdWatch post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox. And make sure to follow @StateEdWatch on Twitter for the latest news from state K-12 policy and politics.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read