ALBANY, NY and YONKRS, NY — The recently enacted New York State budget will deliver additional funding to the City of Yonkers, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow announced at a press conference today. The added state support will reduce the City’s overall fiscal shortfall, although Yonkers still faces a substantial gap in its budget.
Passed by the Legislature on Friday, the New York State Budget allocates $217.5 million in education aid to the Yonkers Public Schools, a 4.6% percent increase from last year.
In addition, the New York State Budget allocates the following to the City of Yonkers…
- $108.2 million in municipal aid
- $19.6 million in Video Lottery Terminal Aid for the Yonkers Public Schools
- Up to $11.9 million advance payment of future State aid (known as “spin up”)
- $1 million one-shot of additional education funding (known as “bullet aid”)
- $750,000 for sports programs in the Yonkers Public Schools.
Senator Stewart-Cousins, Assemblywoman Mayer and Assemblyman Pretlow were joined at today’s press conference by Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio, members of the Yonkers City Council and representatives of the Yonkers PTA.
To highlight the additional State aid for sports, the press conference took place at the Yonkers Middle School gym, with several student athletes and parents in attendance. Last year, budget cuts forced the school district to limit sports offerings, but additional funding in this year’s State budget – added by the Assembly – will help restore some of those programs. Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer played a key role in obtaining this funding.
Assemblywoman Mayer also played a key role in securing the $1 million bullet aid for the Yonkers Public Schools. This onetime payment is in addition to the $217.5 million in State education aid for the Yonkers Schools.
“Sports are great for our kids and are an important part of the educational experience. I am especially pleased that in these difficult times, the Assembly was able to partially restore these programs – and grant an additional $1 million in bullet aid – to help soften the impact of our serious budget challenges,” commented Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer.
Senator Stewart-Cousins and Assemblyman Gary Pretlow were instrumental in securing the spin up aid during State budget negotiations. The two legislators met with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office directly to advocate for the spin up funding and other top budget priorities. The Senator also discussed the need for Yonkers’ spin up during the joint Senate and Assembly budget negotiations. The $11.9 million included in the final budget represents a maximum early payment of future state aid and will help the city soften the blow of yet another difficult budget year.
"Spin up aid has never been a long term solution, but continues to be a necessity as Yonkers grapples with years of budget shortfalls. I'm glad the Governor took our plight seriously. Yonkers is one of the few cities permitted to use these additional dollars to help bridge the gap this year," said Senator Stewart-Cousins.
Assemblyman Gary Pretlow commented, “Yonkers still faces very difficult fiscal challenges this year, but the extra education aid, spin up and sports funding will help the City navigate the long road ahead.”
The original State budget proposal diverted $250 million from education aid into a competitive grant program, which would have resulted in less school funding to Yonkers and other districts around the State. But after strong backing from the Yonkers PTA, statewide education advocacy groups, the Yonkers delegation and other legislators, $200 million of this grant funding was restored back into education aid, providing a boost to classroom funding for school districts around the State, including Yonkers.
Yonkers PTA President Anne Marie Smith said, "Although we know the money is never enough, this is a great start. We cannot ignore the efforts that are being made by all parties to help fix the financial crisis of the Yonkers Public Schools. The YCPTSA would like to thank everyone for their hard work in bringing us this money.”
SOURCE: Press Release.