Greenpoint Gazette
Assemblyman Joe Lentol

Lentol: 2013-14 State Budget Makes Major Commitment to Education

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This week, Assemblyman Joe Lentol announced the passage of the 2013-14 state budget which allocated $8.28 billion to New York City schools, an increase of $363.9 million over last year and $184.3 million more than the executive’s budget proposal. The budget also restores $240 million to New York City schools’ base funding levels for the 2013-14 school year and ensures that a teacher evaluation system will be in place in subsequent school years, which will prevent students from being penalized in the future.

“Our children’s education should not suffer because the Mayor’s teacher evaluation system isn’t finalized,” Lentol said. “The 2013-14 budget ensures that our children won’t be punished in future years for events out of their control, while allocating significantly more funding than city schools received last year.”

Investing in our Children’s Future

The budget includes $25 million for full-day and half-day pre-kindergarten grants. This new investment will allow for more full-day pre-K programs and additional half-day pre-K slots.

“Giving our children an earlier start to education better prepares them for the future,” he said. “The Assembly Majority has been a major supporter of pre-K funding because studies show it helps children get ahead.”

The budget also:

• restores $183.2 million for NYC Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA);
• increases expense-based aids in NYC by over $46 million;
• continues the phase-in of Foundation Aid and increases it in NYC by $134.7 million over the executive budget; and
• provides $15 million for Community Schools grants, which are designated schools that integrate the community into its curriculum such as health and mental health services.

The budget includes statewide funding that:

• provides a total of $137.5 million to non-public schools, a $9 million increase;
• provides $16.8 million to summer programs for the Blind and Deaf (4201) in order to reject the executive budget proposal to shift up-front costs of these programs to school districts;
• restores $14.26 million to teacher resource and computer training centers;
• increases funding to Adult Literacy Education by $1 million, for a total of $6.23 million;
• increases aid to public libraries by $4 million;
• creates and invests $20 million in Extended Learning Time grants;
• allocates $11 million to the new Master Teacher grant program, which raises the salary of high-performing teachers who also educate other teachers on how to improve their performances in the classroom;
• provides an additional $4 million for Early College High School grants; and
• provides an additional $172,000 in funding for the conservation and preservation of library materials and the talking book and Braille library, for a total investment of $693,000.

2013-14 budget increases support to higher education

The budget increases support to $2,422 per-Full Time Equivalent (FTE) student at SUNY and CUNY community colleges. The base aid increase is $150 per-FTE student, which is the second consecutive increase in community college base aid. The budget provides a total increase of $9.3 million in base aid for CUNY community colleges.

In order to assist counties, SUNY and CUNY are also required to create a standard certificate of residence form, establish a uniform methodology for calculating community college chargeback, create an online chargeback training program and assist in the development and implementation of an online or electronic chargeback billing system.

“New York has one of the finest higher education systems in the nation,” he said. “It’s vital that we continue to grow our higher education system and improve infrastructure so students have quality places to learn.”

The budget also creates the Graduation, Achievement and Placement (GAP) program, which will provide $1.7 million to fund a comprehensive remedial education plan for SUNY community colleges, provides $1.7 million to CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) and establishes incentive funding for community college certificate and workforce programs ($3 million for SUNY and $2 million for CUNY) based upon certain measures of student success.

“Adequate funding for local community colleges is imperative to create a highly skilled workforce,” Lentol added. “Community colleges provide many with the skills they need to be successful and the budget helps ensure that these colleges remain affordable.”

NYSUNY 2020/NYCUNY 2020

The 2013-14 state budget contains $55 million in capital funding for a newly created NYCUNY 2020 Challenge Grant program in order to enhance academic programs, improve infrastructure and create jobs at CUNY campuses. An additional $55 million will be allocated for a third round of NYSUNY 2020 Challenge Grants.

“Through the collaboration of our colleges and local businesses, the NYSUNY 2020 program has been successful in spurring innovation and creating jobs,” Assemblyman Lentol said. “A third round of grants for SUNY and the creation of NYCUNY 2020 will build on the success we’ve already established.”

The budget restores $27.8 million for SUNY Hospitals for a total of $87.8 million. It provides $4.1 million through the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance for Advanced Technology Training and Information Networking Labs (ATTAIN) and an additional $994,160 in direct support for ATTAIN labs. The budget also includes $1.4 million for CUNY child care centers, a $544,000 restoration.

Additionally, the budget provides a 3 percent increase in funding for college opportunity programs, including:

• $25 million to the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP), an increase of $728,040;
• $18.9 million to the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge (SEEK) program, an increase of $551,340;
• $21.7 million to the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), an increase of $632,430;
• $12.9 million to the Liberty Partnerships Program, an increase of $376,250;
• $11.1 million to the Science and Technology Entrance Program (STEP), an increase of $324,030;
• $8.4 million to the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP), an increase of $245,520; and
• $909,500 to College Discovery to assist students who otherwise might not be able to attend college due to their educational and financial circumstances, an increase of $26,500.

“The budget continues our strong commitment to higher education by increasing funding to these vital CUNY programs. A college education is needed in today’s competitive job market. By keeping college affordable, we are investing in our students and our state’s future,” Lentol concluded.

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