Speaker Carl Heastie and Education Committee Chair Michael Benedetto today announced State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22 Assembly Budget would restore $2 billion, including $29.5 billion in funding to General Support for Public Schools (GSPS), an increase of $3.1 billion or 12 percent, over the 2020-21 School Year (SY).
In addition to state funding, New York has received over $12 billion in federal funding to address pandemic related education costs, including but not limited to remediating learning loss, ensuring that school facilities are properly equipped to keep students and staff safe, purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean facilities, purchasing education technology, providing mental health services and support, and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English language learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.
“My colleagues and I in the Assembly Majority recognize that our schools have faced unprecedented challenges and incurred significant costs over the last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Speaker Heastie. “We are relieved that our congressional delegation fought to deliver federal funding to help our schools respond to costs associated with the pandemic. Our spending plan reflects the need to ensure that federal funding is used to supplement, not supplant, state funding.”
“As a former educator, I fully recognize the scope of the challenges our schools and our students have endured over the last year and how desperately they need funding and resources,” said Assemblymember Benedetto. “The Assembly’s proposed budget prioritizes the needs of our schools and our students to make sure that they are able to use federal funding for pandemic response, not to supplement state funding.”
The proposed budget increases Foundation Aid by $1.4 billion and fully phases Foundation Aid in over three years. As part of this increase, the Assembly’s plan would provide that school districts receive at least 60 percent of their Foundation Aid funding for SY 2021-22. Foundation Aid would be funded for a total of $19.8 billion.
The Assembly recognizes that schools have taken on additional costs in order to continue providing resources to students. The Assembly’s spending proposal would ensure that transportation standby costs are added to pandemic related reimbursable costs included in the Executive Budget.
The spending plan also rejects the governor’s proposal to institute a $1.35 billion local funding adjustment and to consolidate 11 expense-based aids.
The Assembly’s budget also includes critical funding for our most vulnerable students as well as funding to address the mental health challenges students are facing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan includes $10 million for homeless students and $10 million to support mental health in schools.
The plan also provides an increase of $3 million for 4201 schools, for a total of $106.9 million, and restores funding for the following programs:
- $903,000 for the Henry Viscardi School;
- $903,000 for the New York School for the Deaf;
- $500,000 for the Cleary School; and
- $500,000 for Independent Living Centers.
The proposed budget also includes $75 million to create new prekindergarten slots across the state.
Five years ago, New York became the first state in the nation to fund the My Brother's Keeper initiative. The initiative focuses on family and community engagement, professional development, the expansion and development of exemplary school practices and models, and addresses issues related to restorative justice and racial disparities in education. The SFY 2021-22 Assembly Budget includes $18 million in ongoing funding for My Brother's Keeper programs, for a total of $108 million in funding since the program's creation.
The Assembly plan would also restore $3.9 million to Nonpublic School Aid payments provided through Mandated Services Aid and the Comprehensive Attendance Program, and increase funding for the program by $6 million. It would also restore $600,000 to Nonpublic STEM funding, and increase funding by $5 million, for a total of $35 million. The plan would reject the governor’s proposal to cap the state’s liability to nonpublic schools and instead continue to pay nonpublic schools fully for complying with state mandated activities.