Huge Leap in Local School Financial Aid

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By Jessica Mastronardi The 2013-2014 school year appears to hold some promise for local schools, at least financially. Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Education Chair Catherine Nolan have announced that that State Fiscal Year (SFY) Budget agreement for 2013-2014 school year provides $21.2 billion in aid for local school districts, which is close to $1 billion more than the previous school year (2012-2013). "From critical prekindergarten programs and support for students with special needs to reinforcing our core curriculum, we are providing our students and teachers access to the tools they need to build the knowledge and the skills to compete against the world for the jobs and opportunities of tomorrow," stated Speaker Silver. [caption id="attachment_62232" align="alignleft" width="150"]( Catherine Nolan[/caption] "The education of our children remains our top priority" said Nolan. "This investment in public education, which strengthens our schools, encourages innovation and fosters positive learning environments, is an investment in the future of the Empire State." So where will all these additional funds be going towards? Aside from the $171.3 million Foundation Aid and $517.4 million Gap Elimination Aid increase from last year, millions more will be put towards prekindergarten slots, additional learning time, public libraries, summer programs for students who are Deaf and Blind, a center for those with autism and related disabilities, adult literacy and much more. Districts penalized by the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) in the present year will not endure the penalty in the following school years because of a $240 million restoration for future years. Finally, a termof the budget agreement permits the State Education Department to create a bar exam for teachers and principals and demand that the quality of student teacher experience being heightened if necessary.

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