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    Students find champion for equity in New York’s Public Schools in Speaker Carl Heastie and the New York State Assembly Majority

    ALBANY (March 15, 2017) – The New York State Assembly Majority released a budget proposal this week that addresses racial and economic inequality in our school funding system. Under the leadership of Speaker Carl Heastie, the Assembly Majority is fighting to ensure that all children in New York State have access to a high-quality education. The Assembly proposes a $1.8 billion increase in school funding, $800 million above what the Governor proposed.

    Assembly Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan has been a long outstanding advocate for New York’s public schools. Thanks to the strong leadership of Speaker Heastie and Assemblymember Nolan, the Assembly Majority commits to a full phase-in of the Foundation Aid formula starting with a $1.4 billion increase this year. The plan also includes several improvements to the school formula that will ensure it does more to  prioritize high need schools.

    Under the leadership of Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes, we have seen the expansion of community schools across the state in Western New York and other regions. Community schools engage educators, parents, students and the community in a holistic approach to student success, and the Assembly’s proposal would provide consistent and reliable funding for the community schools model by taking its funding out of Foundation Aid and creating a separate aid category. The Assembly proposal also restores the $25 million for this initiative that was cut in Governor Cuomo’s budget.

    The Assembly proposal also expands access to pre-kindergarten, while putting the state on the path toward a streamlined, coherent system to deliver programs to our youngest students. The proposal includes $45 million in additional funding, bringing the total funding invested in pre-k for three- and four-year-olds to $50 million. The proposal also ensures that expansion of access to quality pre-K programs continues without obstacles such as competitive grants.

    “The Assembly Majority’s budget proposal is a transformational step in the right direction to provide New York’s students with resources and opportunities to succeed,” said Jasmine Gripper, Legislative Director, Alliance for Quality Education. “The four-year phase-in of Foundation Aid, starting with $1.4 billion this year, will direct much-needed funding to students in our neediest school districts and provides a starting point to addressing the systemic inequity in education. Maintaining a minimum of the $1.4 billion in Foundation Aid proposed by the Assembly for this year needs to be the state’s top priority as budget negotiations move forward. We applaud Speaker Heastie, Assembly Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan and the entire Assembly majority for their leadership in supporting students and public education.”

     

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