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Steck wanted Bullet Aid for different schools

Assemblyman Phil Steck, D-Colonie, is not happy with how his bullet aid was distributed.

The Assembly's $18 million in "pork" education aid, included $50,000 for the North Colonie School District and $50,000 for the South Colonie School District, both in Steck's Assembly District. No other schools in his district received this money.

Steck said his initial bullet aid request to the Assembly Way & Means Committee did not resemble what his district got. He proposed 40 percent to the Schenectady City School District, about 20 percent to the Niskayuna School District, 20 percent to the South Colonie School District and about 20 percent to the North Colonie School District and about 1 percent to the Menands School District.

These requests, he said, were based on traveling through his district and talking to school officials. He didn't know how much bullet aid money his district would get, but tried to estimate and based his percentages on that.

After learning about the appropriated state education aid in the budget, Steck said he felt all the bullet aid should go to the Niskayuna School District. "[The schools in my district] did relatively well, except for Niskayuna," he said.

Niskayuna is facing serious budget problems.

Instead, all the money went to the two districts in his home area. Steck suspects this decision represents the original rationale for creating bullet aid, which was to help a legislator with their base.

"I don't really believe in bullet aid," he added, noting that his campaign last year criticized this money. As long as this pot of money is out there, though, he said he will try to get it for his constituents.

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