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Nonpublic schools say Cuomo veto will cost families $10M

ALBANY — The New York State Catholic Conference said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s veto of a bill to restore funding to help nonpublic schools pay for state testing and other services required by the state will cost the schools and their families $10 million.

“The governor’s action will have serious impact on our schools and to the tuition-paying families who must absorb cuts in reimbursement aid, even as public school funding soars to new record heights every year,” said James D. Cultrara, director for education of the New York State Catholic Conference on Wednesday.

There are 47 Catholic elementary schools and 10 high schools on Long Island in addition to many more religious and nonpublic schools.

Cuomo vetoed the bill among several that would have increased funding for public and private schools as well as public colleges.

“New York’s education system and its investment in education are unparalleled,” Cuomo said in his veto message. But he said the bills would add costs to the state that weren’t in the 2017-18 budget. He also noted that adding costs at a time when the federal government is threatening aid cuts and the state faces a deficit of more than $4 billion “would be irresponsible.”

The nonpublic school bill had passed 63-0 in the Senate and 133-6 in the Assembly.

The funding, which had been in place for decades, had covered administration of state testing and evaluation programs, as well as providing basic education data to the state. But it was cut under a new state formula for aid to support students attending nonpublic schools. An effort by legislative leaders to include the funding in the state budget failed.

“This overwhelming support in the legislature makes the governor’s action all the more disheartening to our Catholic school communities,” Cultrara said.

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