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December 10, 2021
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JP O'Hare

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Board of Regents to Advance Comprehensive $2.1 Billion State Aid Request, and Budget and Legislative Priorities for the 2022-23 School Year

Proposals Focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Improved Customer Service, and a P-20 Continuum to Bolster Support for New York’s Schools

The Board of Regents will vote on a proposed $2.1 billion increase in State Aid for the 2022-23 school year to support the phase in of Foundation Aid, provide supports for schools, and address longstanding inequities that have been exacerbated during the pandemic, State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced today. The Department will present the proposal at the Board of Regents Meeting on Monday, December 13.

In addition, the Board will act on a set of budget and legislative proposals to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and enhance customer service, efficiency, and supports within the State Education Department for schools, families, and constituents statewide.

“This year’s State Aid and legislative agenda doubles down on our efforts to create a more equitable and inclusive education system to better support New York’s diverse student population and deliver an enhanced customer service approach at the State Education Department,” Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said. “We will push for support of the priorities outlined in our request including the full phase in of Foundation Aid.”

“In addition to our bold Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts across the state, the Department is making a significant shift from a compliance role to an advocate and support system for our schools, teachers, and families,” Commissioner Rosa said. “The budget constraints put on the Department over the past decade have diminished our capacity and hindered our ability to successfully carry out our mission. It is imperative that we rebuild the Department. Through these proposals, we are asking the Legislature and the Executive for their support of the important work we do to serve all New Yorkers.”

Co-Chair of the State Aid Subcommittee Regent Beverly L. Ouderkirk said, “Resources need to be directed to the students who need them most. We continue to advocate for the full phase in of the Foundation Aid formula so that our schools can build capacity, accelerate learning and sustain it over time.”

Co-Chair of the State Aid Subcommittee Regent Nan Eileen Mead said, “The Department is shifting in the way it carries out its mission and it is our obligation to ensure it has the resources necessary to support our schools, advocate for our children, and provide effective and timely service to the public.”

State Aid Proposal

The Board of Regents is committed to supporting all school districts with a State Aid proposal that advocates for $1.5 billion to support the second year of the three-year phase-in of Foundation Aid, $463.9 million to reimburse expenditures under the State’s expense-based aid programs such as building and transportation aids; $66.8 million to enhance BOCES and Special Services aids and $16.2 million to help shrink the digital divide and ensure each student has access to high-quality instructional materials. In addition, the Board’s proposal would provide a new mechanism for districts to receive current year funds for unanticipated enrollment increases. 

Non-State Aid Budget and Legislative Priority Highlights

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: The Regents and the Department are committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of background, zip code, first language or ability, have equitable opportunities to prepare for college, careers, and civic engagement. The Board proposal puts forth a comprehensive agenda to support these efforts and increase equity among all students.

P-20 Continuum and Support-Oriented Approach: The State Education Department is fundamentally changing the way it approaches its mission, shifting away from a focus on compliance to one of support as part of the statewide teaching and learning community. To accomplish this, the Board’s proposals seek to provide mandate relief and greater flexibility relating to education management and bolster the Department’s staffing, licensing, and support efforts. Since 2008-09, NYSED’s Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staffing level has decreased from 3,200 FTEs in 2008-09 to 2,500 FTEs in 2021-22, a decrease of 700 FTEs. During this period, NYSED’s responsibilities have grown exponentially, and the Department has not received the funding needed for additional staff and updated technology to meet the increased responsibilities it has been charged with.

A full description of the Board’s 2022-23 State Aid proposal as well as the Regents 2022-23 non-State Aid legislative and budget priorities may be found on the Department’s website.

Highlights of the budget priorities include:

  • Support schools with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives – $792,612 for Department staff, expert technical assistance, and an online repository to implement the Department’s guiding principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion and build capacity to support the field.
  • Create Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Resources – $250,000 to develop racially and culturally inclusive education resources to support teaching and learning.
  • Support the Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures – $200,000 to support project management and event costs associated with the work of the statewide Blue Ribbon Commission to be charged with re-examining high school diploma requirements.
  • Increase Access to a Highly Qualified Diverse Teaching Workforce – $5 million to increase the participation rate of underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers through the Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC) II program.
  • Improve Justice System Education Opportunities and Outcomes for Youth – $6.1 million to create a Juvenile Justice Education Taskforce ($215,000) and funding to improve programs for incarcerated youth ($5.8M).
  • Support our State-Owned Schools for the Deaf and Blind & Native American Students – $40.5 million in capital funding to ensure the health and safety of students at our state-owned schools.
  • Enhance Communication with Multilingual Parents, Students, and Professionals – $1.6 million to translate Department information and resources for the field and public into languages other than English.
  • Support School Districts with Monitors – $235,200 for Department staff to assist the four school districts with state monitors - East Ramapo, Rochester, Hempstead, and Wyandanch.
  • Ensure Compliance with Statutorily Required Substantial Equivalence Determinations – $657,484 for Department staff to implement new processes that document nonpublic schools’ compliance with Education Law ‘substantial equivalence’ requirements.
  • Redesign Tuition Rate-Setting – $1.25 million to design a new tuition rate-setting methodology to appropriately resource preschool and school-age special education providers.
  • Increase State Aid for Library Construction – $11 million increase over the 2021-22 enacted budget level to better ensure that all New Yorkers continue to have access to state-of-the-art libraries.
  • Continue Access to the NYS Summer School of the Arts – $2 million to ensure that the New York State Summer School of the Arts can remain available to all eligible students regardless of financial need.
  • Fund the Expansion of the Readers Aid Program – $706,000 to meet the current student needs of the Reader’s Aid program.
  • Provide Mandate Relief and State Aid Claims Flexibility – Provide districts with additional relief and greater flexibility relating to educational management.
  • Enhance Oversight of and Support for PreK Programs – $1.9 million for Department staff to appropriately oversee the State's $970 million pre-kindergarten investment as well as the oversight, registration, and renewals of voluntary registered nursery schools and kindergartens.
  • Develop an Electronic Licensing and Document Management System to Improve Customer Service – $7.79 million in capital spending authority to use funds resulting from a 15% registration fee increase authorized by the Legislature in 2009 for the third year of a project to replace a nearly 40-year-old COBOL-based licensing system and enhance the customer experience.