YONKERS, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a new plan on Sunday aimed at helping school districts that have been labeled as "failing" by the State Education Department, including aid to Yonkers that would prevent the district from laying off as many as 200 staffers.
"This fund recognizes that while state education aid is at record levels, some of our largest school districts particularly Upstate require additional investments in critical education programming that work in order to improve performance in our failing and distressed schools," Cuomo said in a statement. "After five years of responsible budgets, the State is in a strong financial position to provide much needed support and relief to school districts that need it the most. This funding will help transform our state's most underperforming schools and change outcomes for our children."
The Upstate Distressed School Fund will provide grants for capital and operating expenses that will enable districts to dedicate more resources to improve students' test scores and graduation rates.
The fund will be available to school districts that demonstrate acute financial need and preference for funds will be given to districts with high concentrations of schools designated as "failing" by the State Education Department.
"I'd like to thank Gov. Cuomo, our state delegation, Yonkers City Council, the PTAs and all the students, parents, teachers and Yonkers residents who fought so hard for the resources our school children deserve," Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said.
Yonkers, which has a large deficit due to a recent local accounting error, is one of the largest school districts in New York and includes multiple failing schools, which makes it eligible for a portion of the fund.
"I want to thank Governor Cuomo for stepping up for Yonkers in this time of need and once again putting New York's students first," Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow said in a statement. "Funding provided to Yonkers through the Upstate Distressed Schools Fund is critical to providing quality education for Yonkers' 27,000 students and avoiding drastic cuts."
The $100 million Fund complements the landmark increase in public school funding included in this year’s budget, which brought total education spending to its highest level ever, at $23.5 billion this fiscal year.
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