Senate and Assembly Find Common Ground on Education Funding Priorities
Co-chaired by Senator Shelly Mayer and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, the Education Budget Subcommittee meeting provided a summary of the major components of the one-house bills put forth by the Senate and Assembly, especially on areas of common agreement. Both chairs of the respective education committees expressed strong support for increases to foundation aid and a commitment to a three-year phase in to rectify funding owed to districts since 2008. The following provides a summary of items highlighted at the hearing.
Agreed upon by both the Senate and Assembly:
- Reject the governor’s proposal to require districts to redistribute funding to schools identified as under resourced,high-need, through equity plans.
- Reject the governor’s proposal to consolidate expense-based aids.
- Reject the governor’s proposal to limit building aid.
- Propose increases in foundation aid over the governor’s proposed budget. The Senate calls for an increase of $1.2 billion in foundation aid over prior year funding and the Assembly would increase foundation aid by $1.16 billion.
- Full phase in of foundation aid by school year – the Senate by 2022-23 and Assembly by 20-23-24.
- Increase tuition rates for 853, 4201, 4410 and other special schools serving students with disabilities.
- Increase aid to prekindergarten (Senate-$20 million, Assembly $30 million)
- Increase state aid to libraries.
- Support increases for the My Brother’s Keeper program.
Also Proposed in the Senate one-house bill (as highlighted at the hearing)
- Increase aid ($25 million in grants) for districts with high and/or growing populations of ELL students.
- Increase state aid ($20 million) to schools in Receivership status.
Also Proposed in the Assembly one-house bill (as highlighted at the hearing)
- Increase funding for prekindergarten to $30 million.
- Proposed $2.5-4 million in mental health grants, of which $1 million is targeted for technical assistance grants.
- Increase special services aid for ninth grade students enrolled in CTE.
- Raise the reimbursable salary cap for BOCES teachers.
- Recommend reimbursable aid for prekindergarten transportation.
- Propose $4.34 million for translation of NYS assessments.
At the conclusion of the hearing both co-chairs expressed a strong commitment to working together for passage of these high priority areas and were very pleased with the high number of mutual priorities. Negotiations continue until the budget is finalized and ultimately adopted.