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Senate proposes $1.6 billion increase in education funding

The New York State capitol.
The New York State capitol.
Chalkbeat file photo

The Senate’s budget proposal calls for a $1.6 billion increase in education funding, including more than $27 million in additional aid to charter schools.

The proposal from the Republican-controlled Senate exceeds the governor’s request to increase spending by $1 billion, but falls short of the plan put forth by the Democrat-led Assembly, which is advocating for a $2.1 billion increase. The Senate also rejected the governor’s proposed three-year extension of mayoral control of New York City schools, instead calling for a public hearing on the topic.

The proposal increases funding that helps struggling schools, known as Foundation Aid, by $880 million.

That sum was not enough for some groups. The Alliance for Quality Education, a city-based advocacy group, said Monday that the amount is too low. The group also pointed out the lack of funding for community schools, which provide services like health care and after-school programs.

The governor’s most significant education proposal this year was a $100 million investment in community schools. The Assembly doubled that to $200 million in its own budget plan.

A Senate spokesman said in an email that school districts could decide whether to opt to spend their additional foundation aid funding on community schools.

The Senate would also increasing state spending on charter schools, tacking on another $27.4 million in grants to support payments to charter schools. Those payments offset a funding formula that has been kept at the same level since 2010-11.

The Senate, like the governor, supports unfreezing that funding formula for charter schools in New York City.

Budgets from the Assembly, Senate, and governor’s office all propose spending more than $400 million to fill a funding gap created during the recession.

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