Sen. Griffo, Assemblymen Brindisi, Miller: New State Budget provides record investment in public schools, higher education

State Senator Joseph Griffo (R-C-Rome) and Assemblymen Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) and Brian Miller (R-I New Hartford) today said the 2018-2019 State Budget boosts public education aid by nearly $1 billion, and makes higher education more affordable for state residents.

The new budget provides a total of $26.6 billion in education funding, which represents a $914 million, or 3.6 percent increase over the previous year, and a 36 percent increase since 2012. This year’s budget includes a $618 million increase in Foundation Aid funding, which now totals $17.8 billion.

This year, the budget boosts aid to struggling school districts by $50 million, so high-needs school districts with a large number of English Language Learners (ELLs) and students at risk can provide after-school care and other programs to supplement traditional classroom instruction. In addition, it includes in funding for Teacher Centers.

The 2018-2019 budget also includes $7.6 billion for higher education, including an expansion of the Excelsior Scholarship Program to make SUNY schools tuition-free for all state residents earning under $110,000 annually; expands eligibility for Enhanced Tuition Awards; and boosts aid to private colleges known as Bundy Aid. 

“New York’s children have the unlimited potential to succeed, but only if they are given the opportunity. To help turn that potential into reality, we have delivered a $1 billion increase in education funding in this year’s budget. This funding is a major increase over the Governor’s original budget proposal and will provide crucial support to the important programs and vital services that provide every child with new possibilities and opportunities. Overall, the new budget will include more than $26 billion in education funding, which is the highest level in state history,” said State Senator Joseph Griffo of Rome.

“This year’s budget reflects an increased commitment to support students in underserved communities. It provides funding to provide more support for students facing language barriers, and expands programs for our youngest students, supporting prekindergarten programs that will help put them on the path to success as soon as possible.  It also boosts valuable programs like the Liberty Partnership Scholarship Program, and the C-STEP and STEP Programs, which encourage high school students to enter high tech fields that provide good career opportunities,” said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of Utica.

“While there are certainly differences of opinion regarding the state budget each year, one of the things we as legislators agree on is the importance of education and the need to provide adequate funding for our local schools. One of our many goals each year is to provide funding to allow the continued growth of programming and this year’s budget includes funding to support local pre-kindergarten programs. While we are proud of this accomplishment, I would like to see the Legislature continue to work toward funding for programs that allow alternate pathways to a high school diploma and a rewarding and well-paying career right out of high school,” said Assemblyman Brian Miller of New Hartford.