FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement from Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and State Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia on the Enacted State Budget
The Enacted Budget continues many important educational programs that are helping achieve equity in education, which is the Board of Regents’ and Department’s top priority. Children in need are at an even greater disadvantage and we must sustain our commitment to them.
The state's investment in our children, including advancing the phase in of Foundation Aid with an increase of over $600 million—and a total of over $1 billion for state aid— puts school districts in a better position to provide a high-quality education for all students while taking the state’s fiscal reality into account.
We thank the Governor, Assembly Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for again prioritizing education funding, including community schools and quality pre-kindergarten programs, to provide the resources and supports our students and districts that are most in need.
We appreciate the inclusion of important mandate relief measures such as the staggering of building condition surveys and the piggybacking of transportation contracts that will to allow districts to work together to reduce unnecessary or redundant costs. District leaders painstakingly balance their budgets, and these measures will help contain costs while still providing the best possible services in our communities.
Lawmakers have raised the limit on BOCES District Superintendent salary levels for the first time in more than a decade. This will help recruit and retain talented leadership in our BOCES which play critical roles in ensuring access to education services in their communities and support the work of the Department as we update learning standards, implement the state’s ESSA plan and expand quality CTE programming. This budget also includes funds to pay the 25 cent student share of school breakfast and lunch—making these meals truly free for students in need.
Significantly, a Board of Regent’s priority to translate grades 3-8 and Regents exams into additional languages received $1 million, so that students’ knowledge and abilities can be better assessed while assisting the field with future instructional strategies.
In addition we commend the continued support for NYSED’s opportunity programs to provide comprehensive pre-collegiate dropout prevention programs to middle and high school students (Liberty Partnerships Program); academic enrichment and research experience in STEM content areas for both high school and college students (STEP and CSTEP); financial aid, summer programs, remedial and developmental courses, tutoring and counseling to college students (HEOP); as well as foster youth scholarships to ensure the success of these students in college. These are wins for New York’s students.
We applaud the agreement on the Senator Jose R. Peralta DREAM Act to ensure that children brought into our country have an opportunity to remain in our country, receive a quality education and have the opportunity to contribute to our economy. Passing the DREAM Act has long been a priority of the Board of Regents and it is gratifying to see this finally come to fruition.
The Governor and Legislative Leaders also recognized the vitally important role the State Education Department is playing in improving academics and finances at the East Ramapo Central School District. We have seen real progress with new classes and programming being added, as well as increasing graduation rates, but there is still much to be done to ensure the best possible outcomes for all of East Ramapo’s students. The work of our State Monitors will continue next year along with an additional $3 million in assistance for this district.
We thank the Governor, Assembly Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins for advancing these significant initiatives to better serve New York’s children and adults.
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