Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo presents his state budget Tuesday, and all eyes are on aid to schools and educational programs. The state is expected to increase its $20-billion commitment to education by 5 percent, but that's just where the wrangling begins.
How much of the increase will be spread evenly across districts and how much will be used for programs to help economically challenged districts? That's a question that leads to brawls in Albany. Another uncertainty is how much of the increase will be targeted toward initiatives, such as universal pre-K or $20,000 teacher merit bonuses, that Cuomo pitched in his State of the State address.
For Long Island, which gets a smaller percentage of school aid than it contributes to state coffers, this is one of the highest-stakes battles waged in Albany.