YONKERS, NY On Sunday, March 31, the Yonkers State Legislative Delegation voted to pass a state budget that secured significant funding for Yonkers Public Schools. Leading up to the budget deadline, Yonkers Public Schools officials estimated a $45 million to $60 million budget shortfall for the 2019-20 school year. Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Chair of the State Senate Education Committee Shelley B. Mayer, Chair of the Westchester Delegation Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow, and Assemblymember Nader Sayegh worked with Yonkers officials and the Governors office to secure a down-payment toward the Yonkers Public Schools budget shortfall.
The State Legislative Delegation Secured an additional $27,500,000 for Yonkers Public Schools:
- $12,000,000 in bullet aid
- $11,000,000 in additional Foundation Aid funding
- $4,500,000 in expense based aid increase
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "As the Senate Majority Leader, and one of the State Senators representing the City of Yonkers, I am very proud of the additional state aid weve secured through the budget to help our local community. I was glad to work with fellow Yonkers representatives, Senator Shelley Mayer and Assemblymembers Gary Pretlow and Nader Sayegh, to provide these additional state funds."
State Senator Shelley B. Mayer, Chair of the Education Committee said, I am pleased for Yonkers students, teachers, and parents that my colleagues and I were able to secure a substantial down payment on the amount the city needs to fund Yonkers Public Schools. We will continue to work closely with Mayor Mike Spano, the City Council, the Yonkers Board of Education, and Governor Andrew Cuomo to secure additional funding for Yonkers students. As we move forward, I look to partner with Yonkers officials in identifying long-term solutions, from the state and from the city, which address the reoccurring budgetary shortfalls plaguing the Yonkers Public Schools.
Assemblymember J. Gary Pretlow said, I am proud to work with my colleagues, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Senator Shelley Mayer, and Assemblymember Nader Sayegh to deliver increased school aid for Yonkers Public Schools. I thank Speaker Heastie for his continued support for Yonkers Public School students. This down-payment toward the Yonkers Public Schools budget shortfall will help ensure that Yonkers children do not experience devastating cuts in educational programming and services.
Assemblymember Nader Sayegh said, "I'd like to thank my colleagues in the Assembly including Assemblyman Pretlow & the other members of the Westchester Delegation. I'd also like to express my gratitude to our colleagues in the State Senate, including Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Education Chair State Senator Shelley Mayer for their continued commitment to Yonkers Public Schools. I'd also like to acknowledge our local leadership, including Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers City Council President Mike Khader, the Yonkers City Council, the Yonkers Council of PTA/PTSAs, the YFT, and all of the parents and students who made their voices heard in Albany. Securing this crucial funding wouldn't have been possible without their continued advocacy. However, our work is not yet done. Each day that our 30,000 children attend schools with subpar funding is a day that they're being neglected for issues far beyond their control. As I've stated in the past, it is a grave injustice and one which will only be resolved by the sizable undertaking of changing the inequitable school foundation aid formula once and for all."
Yonkers residents will benefit from other victories in the 2019-20 State Budget, including:
- A permanent 2 percent property tax cap expected to save property taxpayers statewide nearly $190 billion dollars over the next decade;
- $438 million statewide for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) in capital funding to repave local roads and highways;
- $83.5 million in short-term loans, also known as safety-net funding, to assist distressed hospitals including St. Johns Riverside in Yonkers and Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital;
- $18 million statewide for My Brothers Keeper grants;
- $842,000 for Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, a nonprofit with a long history of representing Yonkers residents who cannot afford representation in housing court;
- $250,000 for ALS Greater NY Association, a victory for Yonkers native and Ice Bucket Challenge co-founder Pat Quinn;
- $100,000 for Youth Theatre Interactions, a Yonkers-based nonprofit.