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State lawmakers highlight historic investment in Western New York schools


Fri, May 6th 2022 01:35 pm

New state budget includes $31 billion in total aid for schools – a $2.1 billion increase from last year

√ Western New York school districts receive a 7% increase in funding, nearly 1,300 new universal pre-K slots

On Friday, New York State Sen. Sean Ryan, Assembly member Jon Rivera and Assembly member Bill Conrad gathered at Hamburg High School to highlight the $31 billion investment in New York’s schools included in the recently passed state budget for fiscal year 2022-23. The budget provides a $169.2 million (6.8%) increase in funding for school districts in Western New York as part of a $2.1 billion increase in total funding for New York’s schools.

Included in the $2.1 billion statewide investment is more than $100 million to fund a universal prekindergarten expansion that will open up slots for more than 15,000 new students throughout the state. Nearly three-quarters of that investment will go to school districts in upstate New York, including $9.7 million in Western New York, where nearly 1,300 new pre-K spots will be created.

This year marks the second in a three-year phase-in process that the State Legislature secured as part of last year’s budget to fully fund Foundation Aid. School districts across New York will receive a combined $1.5 billion increase in Foundation Aid this year, including an $122.3 million increase (7.3%) for school districts in Western New York.

As defined by the Regional Economic Development Council, Western New York is composed of Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties.

Ryan said, “This year’s budget includes a major investment in our schools and, by extension, a major investment in the future of New York. With the continuation of our plan to fully fund Foundation Aid and more than 15,000 new universal pre-K spots statewide, we are ensuring that every child in New York has access to a quality education.”

Rivera said, “Through the past two years, nearly every aspect of life – from the drive to work, to kids at school, to affordable child care for middle-income and low-income families – has been impacted. This year’s budget delivers a victory to those families and to our state’s students, who have endured hardship as a result of a consistently changing school calendar and with learning trends constantly in flux. By fully funding Foundation Aid, reducing the financial burden for our college students, increasing the number of universal pre-K spots, and boosting child care funding by $5 billion over the next several years, the NYS Legislature has shown it is committed to the next generation of our state’s workforce.”

Conrad said, “As a former teacher, I am proud of New York state's ongoing commitment to fully funding Foundation Aid for our schools, particularly as we recover from the pandemic, which disrupted learning, exhausted teachers, staff, students and families, and impacted young people's mental wellness. Educators are tasked with an enormous responsibility and deserve adequate tools, not only so they can help students tackle the curriculum, but so they can make sure kids are nourished, safe, supported and able to learn. I am proud, too, that we are expanding access to universal prekindergarten, which we know gives youngsters a solid head start in life, nurturing their cognition, literacy and social health. There is simply no better investment a community can make than in its schools and schoolchildren.”

Hamburg Central School District Superintendent Mike Cornell said, “High-quality public schools are the cornerstone of every community, and are critically important for the continuation of the economic renaissance of Western New York. For generations, there has been no investment that has paid a better dividend for families and for businesses than the one that we make in the education of our children.”

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