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Legislation to Update School Funding System

Thu, 03/16/2023 - 09:06
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. was the keynote speaker at the Pierson High School graduation ceremony in 2021.
Christine Sampson

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. of Sag Harbor has signed on as a co-sponsor of three bills aimed at updating and balancing the state’s system of designating money for schools, which were introduced by Assemblyman Nader J. Sayegh of Yonkers.

The Education Funding Census Update Act would compel the state to use current census data to guide its allocation of money each year. “It is imperative that New York State reviews its antiquated funding formula, which is still using an obsolete 23-year-old census to proscribe foundation aid funding for school districts,” Mr. Thiele said in a statement.

The Rebuild Our Schools Act would allow schools to access more money for school buildings and other capital projects, while the School Aid Equity Act would boost funding for schools in high-wealth-ratio counties, like Suffolk, based on five criteria: overall enrollment, enrollment in the federal free and reduced lunch programs, special education needs, wealth ratios, and enrollment in English-as-a-new-language programs.

All three bills are with the Assembly’s Education Committee for review. Two of them, the Census Update and Rebuild Our Schools Acts, mirror bills moving through the State Senate.

“More and more demands are being placed on local school districts to meet higher standards. . . . To achieve better quality education for all, there must be adequate support from the state,” Mr. Thiele said. “I am proud to co-sponsor these bills, which, if enacted, would bolster necessary school capital projects and provide essential funding to our school districts here on the East End and across the state.”


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