State delays billions in school aid, noises about state worker layoffs, naked man at center of police standoff, another bank robbery

The Paterson administration announced yesterday that it's delaying $2.1 billion in aid to school districts. The money was scheduled to be distributed today -- though the administration says it's not required by law to send it out until June. Local school districts were expecting millions in funding -- the Albany school district alone was scheduled to receive $8.7 million. The Shenendehowa school district was expecting $6.3 million -- and its superintendent says the short notice has the district hurrying to find a way to cover its bills. [Paterson press release] [TU CapCon] [Fox23]

The Empire Center think tank reported yesterday that school districts around the state have added more than 20,000 employees over the last decade -- even as enrollment has dropped by more than 120,000. NYSUT -- the big teachers union -- responded that thousands of retired teachers have not been replaced. [Empire Center] [AP/Saratogian]

The Paterson administration also announced it was stopping construction on projects not funded by stimulus money. That includes the SPUI at Exit 6 in Latham. [AP/Saratogian] [TU]

And an unnamed Paterson administration source says state worker unions are risking "massive" layoffs because they're not willing to make budget concessions. [Buffalo News]

Steven Raucci trial The jury is still deliberating. Raucci was briefly on suicide watch yesterday. [TU] [Daily Gazette $]

Students at Schenectady High School were asked to turn t-shirts memorializing a gunned down classmate inside out yesterday. At a community vigil for the two recent shooting deaths in Hamilton Hill, a mother said the streets are full of guns. [Daily Gazette $] [Fox23]

The Averill Park school board voted to close two of the district's elementary schools to help it close a budget gap. [Troy Record]

The proposed Saratoga Springs school district budget includes the attrition of 12 jobs and a 2.5 percent tax levy increase. [Saratogian] [Post-Star]

Chuck Schumer praised the Capital Region's transformation toward becoming a high-tech center during a speech yesterday to the Albany-Colonie Chamber of Commerce. Schumer says the biggest priority now for the country is jobs. [TU] [Troy Record]

Local leaders -- including Jerry Jennings -- were in Saratoga yesterday banging the drum again about saving the state racing industry. [Saratogian]

A standoff between police and man in South Glens Falls yesterday ended up involving seven hours, a SWAT team, a robot, nudity and a peaceful end. The man was also arrested last September in Colonie for trying to lure a girl with a puppy. [Saratogian] [Post-Star] [TU]

The state board that manages flood control for this region rejected the pleas from local counties to dismiss $4.5 million in charges. The board also recalculated the charges so that Albany and Rensselaer counties have to pay more. The counties say they're going to sue. [WNYT] [Daily Gazette $] [TU] [Saratogian]

The citizen advisory board for the Hudson River PCB dredging project is upset that GE won't present its findings from phase one of the project to the group. [TU] The EPA says the recent spike in PCB levels in the Hudson did not endanger anyone. [Post-Star]

Albany police say a man robbed the SEFCU branch on Clinton Ave yesterday. They say he held up a teller with a handgun. (As of Wednesday morning, there was no mention of the robbery on BanditTracker.) [YNN] [CBS6]

Rotterdam police say a masked woman held up the drive-thru of a McDonald's on Curry Road. [CBS6]

Troy police said by-standers came to the aid of a man who was stabbed yesterday afternoon. [TU]

Schenectady will be building a pedestrian walkway between the Union campus and downtown. The hope is the corridor will bring more students downtown. Money for the project is coming from grant from National Grid. [TU] [Daily Gazette $] [YNN]


Aw, Empire Center, your neoconservatism is showing. Sure, let's complain that school districts are hiring too much, and cut their funding to bring them back down to Earth! Nothing could possibly go wrong... oh, ignore that report that Averill Park closed two elementary schools, and now those students will overcrowd the remaining classrooms, with the predictable result of reduced efficacy in the learning environment.

Yep, pound those school districts into submission with your data, Empire Center! Here's to a proud American future.

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