Original article written by Reema Amin for Chalkbeat New York
Earlier in January, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed a $2.1 billion increase for the state’s public schools and called for a four-year extension of New York City’s mayoral control of schools in her first budget address. Hochul’s proposal builds on her State of the State address which outlined plans to recruit and retain more teachers, boost mental health resources for schools, and get more New Yorkers to college. Here are highlights of Hochul’s budget presentation:
Hochul wants to spend $31.3 billion on school districts next fiscal year — about $2.1 billion more than what they currently receive from the state. This raise is largely driven by a $1.6 billion increase in Foundation Aid, which districts can use most flexibly, including to hire more teachers or create new student programs. New York City would receive $12.3 billion, which is $531 million more than they currently get, representing a 4.5% increase in funding per pupil, according to figures released Tuesday night. Charter schools in New York City would receive a 4.7% increase in per-pupil funding under Hochul’s proposal.
New York City’s mayor controls the nation’s largest school district with a board that includes a majority of mayoral appointees instead of an elected school board. The state law that created the structure expires once again this June, nearly six months into Adams’ tenure; an extension requires approval from state lawmakers. It was last extended in 2019 under former Mayor Bill de Blasio.
In a statement, Chancellor David Banks applauded Hochul’s proposal and said mayoral control allows schools to “reach their highest potential.” The proposal, if passed, would cover Adams’ first term in office. In a statement, city teachers union president Michael Mulgrew said the current system “does not work for students and parents.” He said the union has recommended modifications “that would help restore checks and balances to the system,” but did not elaborate on what those were.
Special Education Programs:
Hochul wants an 11% increase in tuition rates for state-approved, privately run special education programs that serve thousands of children with more intensive needs, according to the budget proposal. That mounts to an annual increase of more than $240 million. The state would continue to reimburse 60% of those costs, which are fronted by districts such as New York City.
Teacher pipeline, tuition assistance, and mental health
In her State of the State address, Hochul described multiple proposals to recruit more teachers to combat a shortage, including speeding up the certification process, creating a new teacher residency program, and temporarily increasing how much retired educators can make while still earning their pensions.
One of Hochul’s goals is to get more New Yorkers through college. She’s proposed spending $150 million toward the state’s Tuition Assistance Program, or TAP, to offer financial assistance to part-time students. That investment is expected to reach 75,000 more students, according to the governor’s proposal.
Hochul also has proposed spending $100 million over two years for a new program that would match funds that high-need school districts spend on expanding programs for summer, afterschool, extended-day, and extended-year learning, as well as for hiring mental health professionals and creating school-based mental health services. The fund would match federal COVID relief dollars that districts spend on those specific types of programs and services.
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