New York’s school districts are turning their backs on the pension smoothing plan introduced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

On Jan. 22 Cuomo proposed a plan to reduce local governments’ required contributions in the near term for employees hired in 2012 or later, at the cost of them having to pay higher costs further out.

New York lawmakers approved the plan as part of the fiscal 2014 budget, which began April 1.

In July the New York State Association of School Business Officials did a survey of its members as whether their school districts planned to participate in the pension smoothing options.

New York’s Employee Retirement System covers non-educational school staff, like bus drivers, nurses, and custodians, while the Teacher Retirement System covers educational staff like teachers and teaching assistants.

The survey showed less than 4% of the school districts plan to participate in either the ERS or TRS pension smoothing options. The survey was based on the results from 226 districts, about 30% of the state’s school districts.

Reasons for not participating ranged from “postponing the inevitable” and “shifts burden onto the backs of future taxpayers” to “not a very fiscally sound way to operate” and “district does not want to push current costs onto future years,” according to the association.

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