Assemblymember Hunter Secures Funding for CNY School Districts in State Budget
Assemblymember Pamela J. Hunter (D-Syracuse) announced that she helped pass the 2018-19 state budget, which increases funding for local schools and eliminates barriers so Onondaga County students can succeed in the classroom and beyond.
“Every student – regardless of their economic background or home situation – deserves a quality education,” Hunter said. “This budget helps break down barriers and open the door for more kids to succeed both in and outside the classroom.”
The state budget provides $26.6 billion in education funding, an increase of $914 million from last year, including a $618 million increase in Foundation Aid for a total of $17.8 billion.
To ensure Central New York students get a quality education, the state budget includes the following Foundation Aid funding:
- $280.3 million for the Syracuse City School District, an increase of $8.6 million or 3.07 percent;
- $45.9 million for the North Syracuse Central School District, an increase of $949,927 or 2.07 percent;
- $43.06 million for the Liverpool Central School District, an increase of $802,978 or 1.86 percent;
- $20.37 million for the West Genesee Central School District, an increase of $871,086 or 4.28 percent;
- $16.9 million for the East Syracuse-Minoa Central School District, an increase of $370,030 or 2.18 percent;
- $9.55 million for the Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District, an increase of $178,138 or 1.86 percent;
- $8.45 million for the Marcellus Central School District, an increase of $157,061 or 1.86 percent;
- $7.6 million for the Westhill Central School District, an increase of $162,876 or 2.14 percent;
- $7.01 million for the LaFayette Central School District, an increase of $207,145 or 2.95 percent;
- $6.86 million for the Jamesville-DeWitt Central School District, an increase of $236,218 or 3.44 percent;
- $5.41 million for the Onondaga Central School District, an increase of $100,921 or 1.86 percent; and
- $1.9 million for the Lyncourt Union Free School District, an increase of $125,441 or 6.58 percent.
Many Central New York students face barriers that stand between them and their full academic potential. In Onondaga County public schools, 48 percent of students were found to be economically disadvantaged.1 Further, 1 in 10 students in the Syracuse City School District had no permanent residence in 2016.2 To prevent these barriers from impeding student success, the state budget includes a $50 million increase to help high-need schools – including struggling schools, districts with large numbers of English language learners (ELLs) and districts with increasing numbers of homeless students – become community schools. It also invests $10 million in a second round of Empire State After School awards, providing after-school care for over 6,000 students. The funding will be directed to districts with high rates of childhood homelessness such as Syracuse so that more kids have a safe place to go after the school day and continue learning, Hunter noted.
The budget also allocates $12 million for Breakfast After the Bell for school districts to serve breakfast after the beginning of the school day when 70 percent or more of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch. The program is part of an initiative to ensure students have access to nutritious meals that allow them to focus in the classroom. It also prohibits meal shaming to tackle the stigma of food insecurity.
To put kids on the path to success from an early age, the budget also includes an additional $15 million to expand prekindergarten programs for 3- and 4-year-olds for a total of $827 million.
“From closing graduation gaps to combating hunger, I fought for a state budget that treats our children with compassion and hope,” Hunter said. “We cannot allow any child to fall through the cracks – they need to know we believe in them from the start.”