Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan today announced the approved SFY 2018-19 Budget will include $26.7 billion in funding to General Support for Public Schools (GSPS), an increase of $914 million, or 3.6 percent, over the 2017-18 School Year (SY).
"The Assembly Majority firmly believes that every student in New York State deserves the highest quality education, regardless of where they live," said Speaker Heastie. "Year after year, we fight tirelessly to ensure that our public schools are adequately funded because we know that these investments are fundamental to closing the opportunity gaps that hurt our students."
"New York's public schools are so important in helping students develop the skills they need to be successful in life," said Assemblymember Nolan. "That is why the Assembly Majority advocates for the funding our schools need to provide children with a great education. My thanks to Speaker Carl Heastie for his leadership and support."
The spending plan also includes $618 million for Foundation Aid to help fund the State's obligation to our neediest schools, pursuant to the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.
The approved budget allocates $50 million for Community Schools Aid, for a total of $200 million. Community schools take a holistic approach to educating students by acting as community hubs and offering wrap around services including academic, health, mental health, social services and afterschool programs to students and their families. In addition, the budget increases the minimum community schools funding amount from $10,000 to $75,000.
The budget also includes $2 million for the Supportive Schools Grant Program to help districts improve school climate, safety and implement the Dignity for All Students Act. New York State's Dignity for All Students Act seeks to provide the state's public elementary and secondary school students with a safe and supportive environment free from discrimination, intimidation, taunting, harassment and bullying.
The approved spending plan also includes a $15 million investment in prekindergarten to expand high-quality half-day and full-day prekindergarten instruction for 3,000 three- and four-year-old children across the state.
Two years ago, New York became the first state in the nation to fund the My Brother's Keeper initiative. The initiative, which creates and expands ladders of opportunity for boys and young men of color, 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. This year's approved budget includes $18.8 million in ongoing funding for My Brother's Keeper programs.
The Assembly proposal also strengthens supports for English language learners by including an additional $2 million to increase bilingual education grants and $770,000 in funding to increase the state's supply of bilingual teachers.
The budget includes $10 million in funding for a second round of Empire State After School Awards. This funding will provide an additional 6,250 students with public after school care in high-need communities across the state, specifically targeting districts with high rates of childhood homelessness.
Also included in the spending plan is $9 million in funding to create 15 new early college high school programs, with a focus on communities with low graduation or college access rates. The programs will align their curriculum towards industries with growing demand for skilled workers.
The approved budget also includes $96.6 million in aid to public libraries, which is an increase of $1 million over last year. In addition, the plan includes $34 million for public library construction grants, an increase of $10 million over SFY 2017-18.