Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced the final state budget increases education funding by a record $1.75 billion, with a total investment of $21.4 billion. According to Jacobs, the spending plan includes a $533 million foundation aid increase for New York City schools, and continues the Assembly’s deep commitment to education, despite a daunting economic climate.
“This budget is a realistic plan that provides important funding to New York City schools,” said Jacobs. “The Assembly has helped devise a budget that fulfills our unwavering promise to give all children a sound, basic education.”
Meeting the Commitment to CFE
Assistant Speaker Jacobs said the final state budget continues a commitment to the 4-year Campaign for Fiscal Equity plan.
“The budget moves toward the full implementation of the school foundation formula, which calls for stable and transparent funding for school districts,” said Jacobs. “And it reflects a second year of record school aid increases and continues our commitment to the tenets of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit – placing the focus on high-need school districts.”
Jacobs added that the final budget folds the Academic Achievement Grant for New York City into foundation aid.
The final budget rejects the 18-month lag for New York City building aid, instead seeking to ensure that building aid estimates are more accurate and that aid is issued in a timely manner. A proposal to offset New York City operating aid with increases in reimbursable aids was also rejected.
“If our children are to receive the quality education they deserve, we must ensure that they have adequate facilities in which to learn. By cutting through the red tape, we help get the money where it’s needed most, when it’s needed most,” said Jacobs.
Increasing Funding to Libraries and Other Programs
The final budget adds $85 million for additional programs and restorations, including adult literacy education, independent living centers and libraries. The aid will also support programs that provide needed services to disabled adults.
Staying Committed to Universal Pre-K
Jacobs said the final budget allocation for Universal Pre-K totals $450 million, an increase of $96 million over 2007-08. This expands the number of 4-year-old children attending pre-K from 93,000 up to 121,000, bringing New York even closer to achieving Universal Pre-K.
“All New York children should reap the lasting benefits of attending pre-K,” Jacobs said. “Studies show again and again that pre-K gives our children an advantage in student achievement, college enrollment and future earnings.”
Ensuring School Personnel Background Checks
According to Jacobs, the executive budget cut $500,000 from the Education Department’s Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability – which handles background checks for school personnel. The final budget restores that cut and includes $600,000 more for a total add of $1.1 million. This funding will assist school districts across the state in conducting fingerprinting and background checks for prospective employees of school districts and certain workers who might come into contact with students.
“Because we want to keep our schools safe, we restored this cut. The Assembly has helped to ensure that students in high-need city schools do not fall behind, and that all school districts have the tools they require for them to succeed,” concluded Jacobs.