MICHAEL D. USDAN
Elementary and secondary education was a priority policy area for New York State during the years of the Rockefeller governorship. Between 1960 and 1972, state expenditures for education increased almost 400 percent, rising from $633 million to $2,534.6 million. The increase reflected a substantial growth in educational expenditures by the state, although state support dropped from 47 percent of total school expenditures in 1968-69 to 41 percent in 1972-73. Such an impressive state effort is at least partially responsible for New York's leading position among the states in almost every category of educational expenditures.
Until recently, decisions allocating the vast resources involved in New York's support of education were made through relatively stable processes and occurred in a political environment that was dominated by a small group of influential participants representing schoolmen and political leaders. The major policy inputs were provided by the State Education Department and major educational interest groups, such as the teachers, school boards, and administrators. The varied educational interests coalesced on the transcendent issue of school finance and articulated their common position on state aid for three decades through the New York State Educational Conference Board, a cooperative body of educational organizations that periodically presented state aid proposals which had vital grassroots support from its component groups. 1____________________