Republicans in the state Senate Tuesday night brought up a bill that would give $10 million in extra aid to schools.
That may sound like a good thing, but Democrats were furious, because the extra money would only go to school districts represented by Republicans.
Democrats say this is nothing but pork barrel spending, which was removed from the budget passed in March. But Republicans say the money comes from a pool of unspent money from the 2011 budget.
Syracuse-area Republican John DeFrancisco, who chairs the Senate’s finance committee, got into a heated exchange on the Senate floor with a few Democrats. DeFrancisco noted that democrats did the same thing when they held the majority in 2010 and added that there was “never any thought to adding money to Democratic districts.”
Most of the school districts will receive between $25,000 - $50,000, but there were some exceptions. In the north country, the Beaver River school district, represented by Republican Patty Ritchie, will get $150,000. In central New York, the Baldwinsville school district will get $125,000 and the North Syracuse district will get $150,000. Both of those districts are represented by DeFrancisco. (You can see the Senate resolution and a breakdown of money for each school district below. )
While Democrats spoke out against the funding, when it came time to vote, most voted in favor. When asked why, many Democrats said that they didn’t want to hurt any schools.