Assemblymember Wallace: Assembly’s Budget Proposal is Committed to Our Children’s Futures

Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) announced that the Assembly’s 2019-20 state budget proposal provides significant funding for public schools, libraries and higher education to expand educational opportunities statewide.

“Our children deserve an education that goes beyond required subjects to instill the critical and creative thinking skills that will shape them into leaders and innovators,” said Wallace. “The Assembly’s budget proposal invests in learning environments that give our students the support to dream big and the resources to achieve those dreams.”

To ensure our students have the best tools at their disposal, the Assembly’s budget proposes a total of $28.4 billion in education funding, an increase of $1.6 billion over the previous year and $644 million more than the executive proposal. This includes a $1.16 billion increase in Foundation Aid for the 2019-20 school year for a total of $18.9 billion, which is $823 million more than the executive proposal. The Assembly budget proposal would also fully phase in Foundation Aid over the next three years, and rejects an executive proposal requiring certain districts to distribute a percentage of their Foundation Aid increase to specific schools.

The budget proposal also includes policies that would allow districts to set up reserve funds for the Teachers’ Retirement System and to engage in “piggybacking,” a cost-saving measure that allows multiple districts to utilize one contract for services such as bussing. Local school administrators have been outspoken in their support for piggybacking and are applauding its inclusion in the Assembly’s proposal.

“I’m thrilled that the Assembly budget proposal includes measures that will alleviate financial stresses on school districts,” said Maryvale Superintendent Joseph D’Angelo. “By allowing schools to utilize a reserve system for the Teachers’ Retirement System as well as instituting ‘piggybacking’ policies, administrators will be able to more effectively budget long-term and keep annual costs down.”

As a graduate of SUNY Binghamton and SUNY Buffalo Law School, Wallace understands the invaluable opportunities that higher education can provide. For this reason, she fought to include $12.8 million for SUNY in increased operating support. Further, the proposal allocates $500 million for SUNY expansion projects and $12.1 million to SUNY community college base aid, bringing the total rate to $2,947 per full-time equivalent (FTE) student, and ensures no community college loses more than 2 percent of its state support in a given year.

The proposal also provides $10 million for the creation of a strategic investment workforce development program that would help identify the training needs of employers, employees, and prospective employees. The program would pinpoint areas in New York where there is a shortage of skilled workers and craft possible solutions. 

Further, the budget proposal restores $5 million in aid to public libraries, for a total of $96.6 million. It also provides $20 million in construction grants for libraries, for a total of $34 million to help libraries expand broadband services as well as renovate buildings.

“Libraries offer critical resources to community members of all ages,” said Wallace. “Whether they are introducing our youngest minds to inspiring characters or providing access to job search assistance, the impact they have on our neighborhoods is immeasurable. The Assembly is committed to providing the funding libraries need so they can continue to serve as community hubs.”