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Assembly budget adds $2 billion in education spending; would boost SHSAT tutoring

Speaker Carl Heastie on the Assembly floor.
Speaker Carl Heastie on the Assembly floor.
Geoff Decker/Chalkbeat

This year’s Assembly budget proposal would increase education spending by $2.1 billion, while adding funding for initiatives to help young men of color and to promote diversity at New York City’s specialized high schools.

The outlined proposal, released by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie on Thursday, represent a first step in budget talks. It includes $25.4 billion in overall education funding — a 9 percent increase over current spending and $1.2 billion more than Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed in January.

The proposal would also boost funding for a number of initiatives meant to support high-needs schools and students. It would allocate $200 million to help schools become “community schools,” offering services designed to address students’ and families’ needs, up from $100 million in Cuomo’s proposal. Fifty million would fund a coalition of programs known as “My Brother’s Keeper” designed to help black and Hispanic boys. And another $10 million would help school districts address the needs of homeless students.

The plan also includes $1 million to offer tutoring for the Specialized High School Admissions Test for low-income middle-schoolers. This year, about 10 percent of offers to those schools went to black and Hispanic students, though a large share of students at those schools are from low-income families.

The Assembly’s proposal would also extend the New York City mayor’s control over city schools for seven years, through June 2023. That would give Mayor Bill de Blasio control of the school system through a second term.

Last year, the legislature only agreed to a one-year extension of that law, which has been in place (with one interruption) since 2002 but expires in June.

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