Assemblywoman Russell announces 2012-13 state budget will increase education funding for North Country Schools

Base aid to community colleges increases for the first time in five years
March 30, 2012

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell (D-Theresa) announced that the final state budget will include an increase in education support to local school districts, especially those considered low wealth and high needs (A.9057-D).

“The increase in education funding this year comes as needed relief for schools across the state, but particularly in the North Country,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “After years of struggling through crippling cuts to schools, the state is finally able to start adding money to educational funding,” she said.

Keeping the promise: Investing in education

The final budget includes an increase of $8.1 million for schools in Russell’s Assembly district. In addition, teachers’ centers, libraries, the comprehensive attendance program for non-public schools and adult literacy education programs are among areas that will also benefit from the education budget increase.

Statewide, that includes a $111.5 million increase in Foundation Aid, a $400 million increase in the Gap Elimination Adjustment restoration and a full restoration of $239 million for expense-based aids.

Additionally, a big victory in this budget was the fact that we redirected $200 million that was proposed to fund a competitive grant program into formula-driven school aid, which will benefit high need, low wealth school districts.

“The redirection of these funds is a huge triumph for North Country schools that were ineligible for competitive grants under state guidelines,” added Assemblywoman Russell.

Assemblywoman Russell also secured an additional $435,000 in discretionary funding for local school districts, including:

  • General Brown ($100,000);
  • Alexandria ($50,000);
  • Canton ($50,000);
  • LaFargeville ($50,000);
  • Ogdensburg ($50,000);
  • Potsdam ($50,000);
  • Thousand Island ($50,000);
  • Hammond ($25,000); and
  • Norwood Norfolk ($10,000).

“Success in life begins in the classroom,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “By increasing school aid, we can better prepare our students for the future and give them the opportunity to succeed,” she stated.

Recognizing the critical role that community colleges play for graduating high school students, as well as in job training and retraining, this year’s final budget includes the first base aid increase for SUNY community colleges in five years. The final budget increases support by $150 per full time equivalent (FTE) student, which will bring the total to $2,272 per-FTE student for the 2012-13 school year. Jefferson Community College will see an increase of $403,050 over the next academic year.

“Our state’s community colleges provide students with a quality education at an affordable price,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “With these funding increases, we ensure that community college remains an option for those in our community looking to further their education and better their lives.”

In addition, the budget proposal provides $1.6 million to SUNY child-care centers, a $653,000 restoration.