Walsh Advocates for Funding At Education Budget Hearing

Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I-Ballston) attended Wednesday’s Elementary and Secondary Education Budget Hearing. This is the first year Walsh has served as the Minority Education Ranker. Walsh questioned the state Education Department Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia on several important topics including funding for school resource officers and Early Childhood Direction Centers.

“It is a privilege to represent the Assembly Minority Conference at this hearing. This position has given me an opportunity to advocate for the funding of countless programs that are beneficial to our children, their safety, and their families,” said Walsh.

Walsh inquired about what measures the state Education Department would support to provide increased safety in schools. While the commissioner did not oppose the implementation of school resource officers, she thought they provided a “false sense of security” and they are not including funding for them in the budget. She stated that they would provide technical assistance and staff development to schools to aid in the completion of safety plans.

Recently, the state Education Department eliminated Early Childhood Direction Centers, programs that provide assistance to families of children with special needs and special needs training across New York State. Following this program cut, the state Education Department applied to establish Childhood and School Aged Family and Community Engagement Centers and Regional Partnership Centers, two programs with significantly less funding and less staff. Walsh questioned their decision to dismantle a program that provides irreplaceable support and assistance for families.