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NY lawmakers hear from educators on budget plan

Buffalo superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams took part in the discussions on Wednesday.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Education leaders from around the state including Western New York are helping state lawmakers shape the new state budget

Funding for education is always a major part of the state budget process, and on Wednesday it was discussed in depth in Albany by various school superintendents, including Dr. Tonja Williams of Buffalo, along with other people involved with the education field. 

The hearing included teachers union leaders, organizations representing education professionals, and various other education advocates.

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The topics include funding formulas for school districts, school meals, student discipline, and school transportation. 

Niagara Falls superintendent Mark Laurrie said he is pleased Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed for the new budget to delay a cap on earnings by retirees because they are really needed in his district.

"A lot of retired are people that come back not only work for us as substitutes but to drive buses," he said on Wednesday. "And there is not an income ceiling that they can make. She's pushed that aside so that's a huge part, not only for bus drivers but for substitute teachers and retired teachers coming back, so that is absolutely critical that that stays in there."

Another point that Laurrie made is that American Rescue Plan federal funding with COVID relief will be ending so he feels the governor's plan to really fully fund school districts is a big help for them.    

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