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School Aid Gets 3% Bump, Plus Competitive Grants

3:35 PM, Jan 22, 2013   |    comments
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By Jessica Bakeman, Albany Bureau

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed in his budget Tuesday to increase school aid by 3 percent and allocate additional resources to implement the initiatives he presented in his State of the State address.

The total amount pledged to education is about $21.1 billion, up $889 million, or 4.4 percent, from this year.

That includes $20.8 billion for aid to schools, $203 million to help stabilize districts that are struggling to keep up with growing costs and $75 million for reform initiatives, such as expanding pre-kindergarten programs and the school day or year.

The reform initiative funds will be awarded as competitive grants.

Specifically, the budget proposal directs $25 million to establishing full-day pre-K for high-need districts and $20 million for extended the school day or year in qualifying districts.

The proposal also allocates $15 million for community schools, where students will get health care and other services additional to schooling.

Another $11 million would go to rewarding high-performing teachers, providing $15,000 annual bonuses for four years for master teachers who train others, and $4 million would support early college high schools.

On the higher education side, the State University of New York would receive $969 million for its operating budget, flat funding from this year. Community colleges would get a $1 million bump, bringing total state aid to $652 million.

Aid by school district is expected to be released later Tuesday.

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