Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan today announced the Assembly's budget proposal allocates $27.1 billion in school aid, which is an increase of $1.5 billion or 5.9 percent, over the 2017-18 School Year (SY).
The proposal reflects an investment of an additional $840 million over the Executive proposal.
"The Assembly Majority knows that investing in our children's education is an investment in our future," said Speaker Heastie. "We remain committed to making meaningful investments to ensure every child in New York has access to a sound basic education."
"The Assembly Majority advocates for fair funding for all schools to ensure that they serve students effectively and prepare them for life," said Assemblymember Cathy Nolan, chair of the Education Committee. "We know that adequate funding is critical to resolving equity and excellence issues facing New York's schools."
The Assembly proposes increasing Foundation Aid to $18.4 billion for SY 2018-19, an increase of $1.2 billion. This allocation helps fund the State's obligation for our neediest schools pursuant to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, bringing all schools to at least 50 percent of their total Foundation Aid. The Assembly proposal also includes a multi-year phase-in of Foundation Aid, ensuring that all school districts would receive their full Foundation Aid by SY 2021-22.
An additional $50 million has been included for Community Schools Aid, for a total of $200 million. Community schools take a holistic approach to educating students by acting as community hubs and offering wrap around services including academic, health, mental health, social services and afterschool programs to students and their families. An additional $1.5 million is also included to promote critical mental health services in schools.
The budget also includes $7 million for the Supportive Schools Grant Program to help districts improve school climate, safety, and implement the Dignity for All Students Act. New York State's Dignity for All Students Act seeks to provide the State's public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying.
The Assembly's spending plan also includes $50 million for grants for prekindergarten and proposes opening the application process to all districts with a preference for high need districts in order to expand access to publicly funded prekindergarten programs across the state.
Two years ago, New York became the first state in the nation to fund the My Brother's Keeper initiative. The initiative focuses on family and community engagement, professional development, the expansion and development of exemplary school practices and models, and addresses issues related to restorative justice and racial disparities in education. This year, the Assembly has allocated $18 million in ongoing funding for My Brother's Keeper programs, as well as $800,000 for the Office of Family and Community Engagement at the State Education Department.
The Assembly proposal also strengthens supports for English language learners by providing $15 million to help districts provide services to English language learners and homeless students, an additional $1 million to increase Bilingual Education grants to a total of $16.5 million and $770,000 for training programs for teachers in bilingual/multi-lingual education to support diversity and integration in schools. In addition, the Assembly provides $1.5 million to increase funding for Adult Literacy Education, which helps community organizations provide literacy and English language instruction across the state.
Additionally, the Assembly rejected proposals to cap state reimbursement in future years for transportation, building and BOCES aids, which would have put a greater strain on property tax payers and school budgets.
The Assembly also rejected an Executive proposal that would have given the Governor control over school budget allocations in local school districts.
The Assembly Budget also includes critical funding for the following programs: