Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the education highlights of the fiscal year 2023 budget. Part of the historic plan includes record total school aid of $31.5 billion for the 2023 school year, the highest level of state aid on record, and $8.2 billion in support for higher education as part of this year’s budget.
“The ability to pursue a quality education is the silver bullet for so many New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “With this budget, we will unleash the power of higher education to uplift the people of our state by investing in our institutions and teachers. With the help of Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie, this unprecedented level of funding will expand access to opportunity in New York City and build the education system of the future.
Historical Education Funding
The state budget reflects Governor Hochul’s strong commitment to education by providing additional funds and services to meet the needs of students, teachers and schools amid the pandemic. The budget provides $31.5 billion in total school aid for the 2023 school year, the highest level of state aid on record. This investment represents a year-over-year increase of $2.1 billion, or 7.2%, from the 2022 school year, including an increase of $1.5 billion or 7, 7% of Foundation support, marking the second year of Governor Hochul’s three-year commitment to fully fund the Foundation. Aid.
The approved budget increases the state’s annual investment in high-quality pre-kindergarten to $1.1 billion, an increase of $125 million, or 13 percent. With this funding, school districts will be able to provide access to high-quality, full-day pre-kindergarten statewide to approximately 17,500 additional four-year-olds.
Special Education Support
Governor Hochul is also providing an additional $240 million in new funding and significant funding flexibility for approved special education schools. This new funding for the education of children with disabilities comes with greater financial and operational flexibility in these schools to meet the needs of students. This initiative will bring about transformational changes in the way our most vulnerable children are educated.
School support and mental health
The state budget includes a total of $100 million in matching funds over two years to be provided to school districts and BOCES with the highest needs to address student welfare and learning loss in response to the trauma caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes support for extended school day or school year programs, after-school programs, mental health professionals, and other locally determined initiatives.
Recruit and retain teachers
The budget includes funding for new initiatives focused on expanding the teaching workforce, as well as expanding the ways in which professionals from other careers can become teachers.
The budget creates a state teacher residency program to get more teachers into schools sooner while providing greater opportunities for support and training early in their careers. The state will also expand alternative teacher certification programs, such as the New York City Teaching Collaborative, to make it easier and more attractive for professionals in other careers to become teachers. Prospective teachers would apprentice in disadvantaged school districts while pursuing a master’s degree in their field.
The budget includes initiatives to upgrade the skills of current paraprofessionals and teaching assistants. There are more than 100,000 paraprofessionals and teaching assistants in New York State schools, a number that is growing rapidly. The budget will provide grants to paraprofessionals who remain employed in a school district to pursue a teaching degree. School districts would be required to match applicants with professional mentors.
To bolster the workforce and address teacher shortages, the budget will temporarily remove the income cap for some retirees. There are 169,000 retired teachers in New York State, many of whom would be willing to return to teaching by waiving the current cap on pensions. Some retirees would see the $35,000 limit removed, prompting teachers and other school workers to re-enter the workforce.
To improve air quality for New Yorkers of school age, the state budget requires that all new school bus purchases be zero emissions by 2027 and that all school buses on the road will be zero emissions by 2035. The state budget will provide $500 million through the Environmental Bond Act to help school districts purchase zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure related facilities, including charging stations. In addition, the state budget allows school districts to lease or fund zero-emission buses for 12 years, more than double the current five-year limit for diesel buses, to help districts meet that goal, and ensures transport support is provided on zero-emission buses and related charging infrastructure.
The Budget will build on Governor Hochul’s commitment to bring environmental sustainability to New York schools. The Clean Green Schools initiative under the Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act will serve more than 1,000 public schools and benefit nearly one million students. The program will result in significant infrastructure improvements, such as geothermal heating and cooling, solar power, green roofs, and indoor air quality/ventilation. This vital investment will not only boost the state’s economy, but advance climate justice by bringing clean energy and a healthier indoor environment to underfunded public schools.
SUNY and CUNY operating support
Governor Hochul is providing more than $500 million in new SUNY and CUNY operational support. This transformational increase includes funding for both systems and increased support for students across the state. This includes $68 million in one-time debt service relief for the three SUNY teaching hospitals.
The state budget provides SUNY and CUNY with $106 million — $53 million for each system — to hire additional full-time faculty at four-year colleges and community colleges. This investment will fund additional full-time faculty – at SUNY and CUNY, including support for CUNY’s plan to convert adjuncts to full-time faculty. Additionally, the budget includes a $110 million increase to fund employee benefits for SUNY and CUNY.
The budget allocates $100 million for one-time strategic investments — $60 million for SUNY and $40 million for CUNY — to improve university programs, increase enrollment, improve student support services and modernize operations.
New Capital Support for SUNY and CUNY facilities
Budget invests $2.2 billion in new state-funded appropriations for capital projects at SUNY and CUNY — $1.2 billion for SUNY’s state-run campuses, $879 million for CUNY’s senior colleges and $102 million for statewide community colleges.
Governor Hochul acknowledges that for many students, full-time higher education is not viable with other challenges like work or family. She also recognizes that many students need access to effective training courses to improve their skills in their current careers. To address this issue, the Governor is providing $150 million to expand the Part-Time Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) to support part-time students in degree-seeking and non-degree-seeking programs. community college graduates.
Support community colleges
The budget includes a funding floor to protect community colleges from losing more than $80 million in funding due to declining enrollment.
Expanded Student Opportunity Programs
The Governor is providing a $30 million increase in funding for Higher Education Opportunity Programs and Training Centers to ensure students facing academic and economic challenges are well positioned to succeed.
Extended childcare on campus
The Governor is providing $15.6 million in seed funding to establish child care centers on all remaining SUNY and CUNY campuses. This initiative will significantly expand access to higher education for more people.