Philissa wrote that we were confused earlier today when Mayor Bloomberg said that Governor Paterson is actually proposing to cut on the order of $600 million from schools in the next fiscal year. The Daily News had reported a much lower figure this morning, $206 million.

What are the true facts? The above chart shows, in billions of dollars, how much funding the state has sent to New York City public schools each school year from 2006-07 to the current one, 2008-09, and how much Governor Paterson’s proposed budget would have it send in 2009-2010. The big increases up until 2009-2010 were not just big but historic, reflecting the settlement of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, which led to a plan to pour billions extra dollars into the city public schools over four years.

The amount Governor Paterson is proposing to send 2009-2010, $8.1 billion, cuts both off of last year’s total funding (by $280 million) and off of what the city had expected to get additionally in increases (almost $300 million, according to the mayor’s office). The $600 million cut Bloomberg threw out this morning is the sum of these two failed expectations: Both the lack of the increase and the cut from last school year’s allocation. It also reflects a change in the way the state funds prekindergarten and special education services that is forcing school districts to bear 15% of costs the state used to cover. A state budget official told me the change would force the city to pay $71 million that the state used to cover.

I’ll put up reaction from the usual suspects in a few minutes. Here is where you can peruse the gory details yourself.