Assemblywoman Jean-Pierre: Assembly Budget Proposal Invests in Long Island Schools

Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Babylon) announced that the 2018-19 Assembly state budget proposal increases funding for public schools by $1.5 billion more than last year, for a total of $27.1 billion in school aid, and invests in college opportunity programs (E.912).

“Our kids spend 12 or more years in school learning everything from literacy to algebra,” said Jean-Pierre. “We need to make sure we’re giving our schools the funds they need to hire good teachers, purchase supplies and books and invest in the technology our kids need for the 21st century.”

The funding includes a $1.2 billion increase in Foundation Aid, which helps ensure fair funding for struggling and high-need districts. The Assembly plan also provides $7 million for Breakfast After the Bell, a new program to provide nutritious meals for children at the beginning of each school day.

The Assembly’s budget proposal also invests in a variety of education programs, including establishing the Supportive Schools grant program, to help districts improve school climate and create a learning environment free from discrimination or bullying. Funding is also provided for mental health services and English language learning so children with language barriers have the support they need to succeed.

Jean-Pierre has consistently advocated for increased funding for pre-K programs and supports the creation of a regional pre-K technical assistance center on Long Island. Recognizing the importance of early education, the budget provides a significant increase for pre-K programs from $15 million to $50 million.

The Assembly budget proposal also continues to invest in higher education, with $16 billion for college affordability programs in New York State. This includes a 20 percent increase over last year for college opportunity programs to help disadvantaged students earn a degree, for a total investment of $23.8 million, and increases base aid at SUNY and CUNY. The proposal also restores $200 million in capital support for SUNY for critical maintenance and $100 million each to CUNY and SUNY for expansion projects. Additionally, a $25 million Martin Luther King Jr. non-tuition scholarship would be created to help students with the often overwhelming costs of college other than tuition, which was a top priority for Jean-Pierre. She also noted that the proposal continues funding the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to help young men of color overcome barriers to reach their full potential.

“SUNY and CUNY are rightly recognized for their top academic programs and wide range of opportunities,” said Jean-Pierre. “But they’re still out of reach for many struggling families. We need to continue to invest in public institutions of higher education to ensure they’re affordable for all New Yorkers.”