Albany – Citing the critical importance of ensuring our children are provided with a quality education, State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio announced that the New York State Senate today enacted the 2006-07 education state budget legislation that provides for a record school aid increase of $1.26 billion and an additional $2.6 billion in new school construction throughout New York State. The budget includes an increase of nearly $24 million from the 2005-2006 state budget to schools in Senator Nozzolio’s District. The legislation also restores $83.65 to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and rejects the proposal to increase tuition by $500 at SUNY State Operated Colleges and by $300 for CUNY Senior Colleges by providing $93,985,000 in additional operating aid and support.
“Nothing is more important than our children’s education and this assistance is critical to ensuring that our children have the best possible education and our teachers have the resources they need to be effective,” said Senator Nozzolio. “Given the financial challenges facing all levels of government, it is critical that the State provide the resources school districts need in order to keep a lid on local school property taxes.”
“This budget contains the largest school aid increase in state history and is a win for both our children and real property tax payers. This additional aid provided by the state serves to reduce the local tax burden while also benefiting our children in the classroom,” Nozzolio concluded.
The education budget also does the following:
> Sound Basic Education -- Provides a funding plan to spend $375 million in Sound Basic Education proposed by the Governor for high needs districts throughout the state;
> Teacher Resources and Computer Centers -- Restores funds to $37 million, an increase of $20.6 million;
> Teacher Mentor Intern Program -- Restores $6 million, a $4 million increase;
> BOCES Aid -- Provides a $58.1 million increase;
> Building Aid -- Increases funds by $96.1 million;
> High Tax Aid -- Provides a $20 million increase;
> Public Library Aid -- Aid to public libraries is increased by almost $6 million, to a total of $94.6 million and $14 million is included for library capital projects.
HIGHER EDUCATION HIGHLIGHTS:
The 2006-07 education, labor, and family assistance legislation provides the following:
> Tuition Assistance Program -- Restores $83.65 million, and creates a part-time TAP program to help more people, such as people working and going to school, achieve the goal of a higher education.
> SUNY/CUNY -- Provides $768 million for capital projects and increases operating aid at SUNY by $44.6 million and CUNY by $15 million to enable them to hire an additional 300 faculty members and advance other programmatic initiatives. The budget also increases Community College Base Aid above the Executive’s proposal by $75 per full-time student at SUNY and CUNY Community Colleges and rejects the proposal to increase tuition by $500 at SUNY Colleges and $300 at CUNY Colleges by providing $93,985,000 in additional operating aid and support.
Other highlights of the 2006-07 higher education budget include:
> Provides $4 million for the Arts Exhibitions Revolving Loan Fund and Digitization Institute;
> Provides a 10% increase in funding for EOP, HEOP, SEEK, Discovery, and Liberty Partnerships Programs;
> Increases Bundy Aid for private school students by $2.9 million;
> Provides $2.07 million in added funding for Regents Professional Opportunity and Regents Health Care Opportunity Scholarships; and
> Provides $1.8 million in added funding for the Patricia K. McGee Nursing Faculty Scholarship and Nursing Faculty Loan Forgiveness Incentive Program.
The Legislature’s budget rejects proposals by the Executive that would:
> Increase full-time status from 12 to 15 credits;
> Deny TAP eligibility as a result of federal student loan defaults;
> Increase academic progress or good standing requirements;
> Require full-time attendance for students receiving TAP; and
> Require schools to pre-finance TAP for students without a diploma/GED.