WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- In 2023, New York, for the first time, fully funded public education under the state’s Foundation Aid formula.

State Sen. Sean Ryan, D-Buffalo, said after several years of budget victories, few advocates expected the trend to continue this year but what the governor proposed was an actual cut.

“For the first time, districts are really up and running, fully funded and they don’t need as much of an increase as they’ve gotten the last few years but you can’t cut these districts," he said.

The counterproposal both the Senate and Assembly sent back to the governor this week not only increase funding by at least 3% for every school district but also restores the “Save Harmless” provision which requires the state to give districts at least as much money as the previous year and rejects proposed changes to the Foundation Aid formula. State Assemblymember Karen McMahon, D-Amherst, said the changes would result in local schools getting less than they had projected.

“Introducing any level of unpredictability is simply not feasible for these districts and makes an already complicated budget process almost impossible. That is why both the Senate and Assembly introduced one-house budgets that remove the gimmicks and restore the status quo," McMahon said.

On Friday, state lawmakers, district superintendents and members of New York State United Teachers met at Williamsville South High School to talk up the importance of those changes being included in the final budget deal.

“When Foundation Aid was fully funded last year, districts were able to restore programming that had previously been cut, address gaps in students’ learning and invest in supporting students mental health. Now is not the time for the state to pull back," Michelle  Licht, NYSUT Executive Board Member and Williamsville teacher, said.

Grand Island School District Superintendent Brian Graham said it may not sound like a lot but functionally it is.

“We would be negative $159,000 if we went with the governor’s budget. The 3% would probably bring in $600,000 so that would allow us to adjust for inflation and address our collective bargaining agreements appropriately," he said.

And Tonja Williams, the superintendent for Buffalo Public Schools, said it's even more money for urban districts, where raising the property tax isn't an option.

“For the Buffalo Public Schools it’s about $4-5 million that it would impact us," she said.

Lawakers said they do believe changes to the Foundation Aid are necessary. Assemblymember Bill Conrad, D-Tonawanda, said they need to take a closer look first though.

“In the Assembly one-house we’re actually calling for a study because the data has been from 2007 that we’re going off and let’s be honest, things have radically changed since 2007. We’re talking almost two decades worth of data that’s changed significantly," he said.

Legislators said with revenue projections $1.3 billion more than originally expected, the extra funding for education should be a priority.