FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Statement From Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr., the Board of Regents, and State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa on Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget Proposal
The Board of Regents and New York State Education Department are first and foremost thankful to Governor Hochul for advancing a budget that makes critical investments in education. These investments would help increase the Department’s capacity to carry out its mission while delivering world-class support and customer service to New York’s students, schools, families, and communities.
This much-needed funding would enable the Department to onboard subject-matter professionals in two mandatory areas of instruction: literacy and health. Additionally, recognizing that the electric bus requirement poses logistical challenges for some districts in our state, we are grateful for the Governor’s proposal to add three staff members to the Department to support our school communities and deliver sustainable solutions through this transition period and beyond. In particular, the Department is grateful for Budget Director Blake Washington’s proactive approach to advancing the agency’s personnel needs, considering current service demands.
The proposed resources for the Department’s Statewide Longitudinal Data System will be utilized to assist in modernizing and linking current legacy data systems across early childhood, K-12, postsecondary, workforce, assessments, and opportunity-to-learn data into a single dashboard, allowing educators, policymakers, researchers, and the public to better understand what works for students and the workforce and how to utilize resources more efficiently. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we are thankful to the Governor for making this investment.
We are pleased to see funding for the continuation of the NOVELny database which provides a research-based database free of charge to residents across the state. Our data shows that it is used by public libraries, in public and nonpublic school libraries, by small colleges, and in our largest universities. We are thrilled with the prospect of being able to continue to provide this truly invaluable service.
The Board and the Department are delighted by the Governor’s support for the capital needs of state-owned buildings, including the three Indigenous Nation Schools, the increase to the public library construction fund, and the extension of our critical work on the methodology for rate setting for special education providers.
While the Department applauds the Executive Budget proposal to fully fund expense-based aids, concerns have been raised about limiting Foundation Aid through a new calculation. The Board of Regents has noted that rural districts need support for efforts to regionalize their programs to offer more opportunities for students living in smaller communities. This change to the school aid calculation, with no accompanying language facilitating regionalization or time for planning and implementing the changes, will have a significant impact on our rural districts and will even further limit opportunities for students in these small communities.
Every student in New York should have access to educational opportunities that allow them to select options for their life direction. We fear school leaders may find this exceptionally challenging in a fiscal year where federal stimulus funding is being drawn down. The Board of Regents’ suggestions for updating the Foundation Aid Formula would be a timely and prudent use of resources.
As budget negotiations move forward, the Department encourages the parties to revisit the Board of Regents’ priorities, providing state support for the new requirement to serve students with disabilities until their 22nd birthday (adding an extra year from our previous understanding), stable funding for the Office of Cultural Education, and the higher education opportunity programs.
The Executive budget proposal has broken new ground in many ways. However, there is still work to fully support students of all ages. We hope the adopted budget will build on these proposals and ensure all New Yorkers have equitable access to a world-class education and resources for lifelong learning.
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