By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
New York City schools stand to receive $8.28 billion in funding under the new state budget, according to Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol (D-Williamsburg-Greenpoint), who said it represents a $363.9 million increase over last year and is $184.3 million more than Governor Andrew Cuomo requested in his proposed budget.
The new budget also ensures that a teacher evaluation system will be in place in subsequent school years, Lentol said.
“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.”
The budget was finalized in Albany on March 28, when the State Assembly approved the spending package. The state senate voted for it on March 27.
Under state law, a budget has to be in place on April 1.
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, Lentol said. “Giving our children an earlier start to education better prepares them for the future, The Assembly Majority has been a major supporter of pre-K funding because studies show it helps children get ahead,” he said.
Under the budget, $15 million will be provided for Community Schools grants, which are designated for schools that integrate the community into its curriculum such as health and mental health services.
The fiscal package includes more money for higher education, Lentol said. The budget provides a total increase of $9.3 million in aid for the City University of New York’s community colleges.
“New York has one of the finest higher education systems in the nation,” Lentol said. “It’s vital that we continue to grow our higher education system and improve infrastructure so students have quality places to learn. Adequate funding for local community colleges is imperative to create a highly skilled workforce,” he added.