Skip to main content


December 22, 2022
For More Information Contact:

JP O’Hare

(518) 474-1201



State Education Department Seeks Public Comment on Definition of “High-Need Local Education Agency” for Stronger Connections Grant Program

Stakeholders May Submit Public Comment Through January 31, 2023

The New York State Education Department is accepting public comments on the definition of a “High-Need Local Education Agency” for the purposes of distributing funds through the federal Stronger Connections Grant Program, Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced today. The Stronger Connections grants will aid schools in providing all students with safe and supportive learning opportunities and environments.

Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “The Board is committed to delivering on the promise that all students, including Black and Brown students, students of color, students from the LGBTQ+ community, students with disabilities, and students from other historically marginalized identities, feel safe and are able to learn. By providing additional resources to create safe and supportive learning environments, we are helping create communities where all students will have access to high-quality educational opportunities.”

Commissioner Rosa said, “There is no limit to what our students can accomplish when they are free to learn in a truly safe and supportive environment. This funding will go to schools that most need resources, including those that are economically disadvantaged or geographically isolated, such as New York’s rural school districts, to empower them to create environments that welcome all students and prepare them for the rigors of college, careers, and active citizenship.”

New York State has been allocated over $72 million under the federally approved Stronger Connections Grant (SCG) Program to award funds competitively to high-need local educational agencies (LEAs). Working with a wide variety of stakeholders, the New York State Education Department developed a “high-need LEA” definition to determine eligibility for SCG program application and funding, as required by the US Department of Education. 

For the purposes of the SCG Program, NYSED is defining a “high-need LEA” using the following two criteria:

  • A minimum of 40% of students in the LEA are eligible for free meals based on direct certification through: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicaid by means of the Community Eligibility Program (CEP), or through district submission of such data for students eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch; and
  • A minimum of 10% of the student population is chronically absent.

NYSED has designed a competitive grant process to prioritize awards to applications that will implement comprehensive, evidence-based strategies that meet students’ social, emotional, physical, and mental well-being, and will increase access to interventions and services. Further details regarding SCG funding process will be forthcoming.

The Department is accepting public comment regarding the definition of “high-need LEA” through 5:00 PM EST on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. Public comment can be submitted via NYSED's Definition for High-Need LEA Under the SCG Program- Public Comment Form

Further information regarding the SCG Program can be found on the USDE Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Stronger Connections Grant Programs Frequently Asked Questions website.

Media Contact

Reporters and education writers may contact the Office of Communications by email or phone at:
(518) 474-1201