Education

Students and parents are frustrated by delays in hearing about federal financial aid for college

BY Associated Press New York State

For many students, the excitement of being accepted into their first-choice college is being tempered this year by a troublesome uncertainty over whether they’ll get the financial aid they need to attend.

The financial aid decisions that usually go out with acceptance letters are being delayed because of a later-than-expected rollout of a revised Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the form commonly known as FAFSA that schools use to compute financial aid.

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SUNY chancellor downplays report of candidacy for Harvard president

BY Seamus Lyman New York State

Saying that he's focusing on his job here, State University of New York Chancellor John King is downplaying a report that lists him as one of 10 potential candidates to become the next president of Harvard University.

King, a 1996 Harvard graduate, is being considered to run the Ivy League institution, according to a report in the Harvard Crimson last week.

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New York Republicans want to delay zero-emission school bus requirement

BY Capital Tonight Staff New York State

Republican members of the New York state Senate and Assembly unveiled a proposal Monday that aims to address the state's electric school bus mandate.

The proposed legislation would delay the requirement for school districts to purchase zero-emission school buses by 2027, pushing it to 2045.

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New York Assembly Higher Education Committe chair Pat Fahy wants more state aid for SUNY, CUNY

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

According to state Education Department figures, New York’s public schools are seeing their lowest enrollment numbers since the years after World War II, and that decline is affecting public and private institutions of higher education across the state — from the lecture hall to the budget office.

On Friday, lawmakers heard from higher education leaders, including SUNY Chancellor Dr. John King, in a marathon budget hearing. King has said that SUNY either needs more operating aid from the state or an increase in tuition to address the system’s financial needs.

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New York United Teachers, rural educators concerned about proposed Foundation Aid changes

BY Jack Arpey New York State

School districts and education experts are continuing to express concerns about Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to end "Save Harmless," also known as "Hold Harmless," which ensures that districts don’t see a decrease in Foundation Aid funding compared to the previous year.

At Berne-Knox-Westerlo Central School District, administrators say increases in Foundation Aid in the years following the Great Recession have yielded significant improvements to services offered to students as well as the district’s facilities.

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As expected, questions over Foundation Aid funding dominate New York education budget hearing

BY Jack Arpey New York State

New York lawmakers gathered in Albany Thursday for a joint hearing on the state’s education budget.

Members of the state Education Department were on hand to testify, and as expected, much of the conversation surrounded the governor’s proposal to end "Save Harmless," also known as "hold harmless." It ensures that districts don’t receive less Foundation Aid funding from one year to the next.

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'Save Harmless' continues to be the focus ahead of New York education budget hearing

BY Jack Arpey New York State

This week at the Capitol, we’ve heard about a push for universal free lunches, we’ve heard from lawmakers hoping to put new restrictions on IDAs giving tax breaks, and Gov. Kathy Hochul awarded $100 million for 50 school districts and BOCES to address pandemic learning loss, all as key players continue to express concerns about the governor’s proposal to end a policy known as "Save Harmless."

On Thursday, lawmakers will gather in Albany for a joint hearing to address the state’s education budget. It’s an opportunity for members of the Legislature to hear testimony from those on the front lines.

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Some New York schools to get $100M to address learning loss, mental health

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

More than 50 school districts and BOCES facilities in New York will receive $100 million to address learning loss brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and provide students with mental health support, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office announced Wednesday.

Fifteen school districts will get the Learning Loss Recover from COVID School Program (RECOVS) grant, which aims to help expand student access to academic recovery professionals, improve capacity for school staff and students to identify learning loss, implement learning loss and academic recovery practices and ensure financial stability for school-based academic recovery opportunities.

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N.Y. state Senate GOP's education legislative package aims to counteract Hochul's funding proposals

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York state Senate Republicans unveiled a legislative package Tuesday aimed to counteract changes to education funding outlined by Gov. Kathy Hochul in her executive budget proposal earlier this month.

The governor is proposing a $35.3 billion school aid package that includes a 2.1% jump, or a $507 million increase, in Foundation Aid, the primary school funding formula, but despite that increase, as well as aid tied to expenses, some view that as a cut from last year.

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Education Trust-NY previews literacy campaign

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

As part of her education budget, Gov. Kathy Hochul set aside $10 million for teacher training to help educators ease into a new curriculum to teach literacy.

At the same time, the Education Trust-NY is launching what it calls “The New York Campaign for Early Literacy” Tuesday at the state Capitol.

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Education expert explains why Hochul’s budget plan is causing 'dissatisfaction' among school officials

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Over the last few years, Gov. Kathy Hochul has brought school funding up to record levels in New York state by fully funding the primary school aid formula that funds schools.

But according to education stakeholders, under her 2.4% increase this year, many school districts will see a decrease in their aid allotment, which may result in drastic reductions to student programming and opportunities. The reason? Inflation is at 4.1%.

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New York school leaders question Foundation Aid proposal that would alter 'Save Harmless' provision

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul is proposing a $35.3 billion school aid package in her executive budget. That’s a 2.4% increase over last year, but there are fears that despite increases to Foundation Aid, as well as aid tied to expenses, education funding could be a major issue of contention this session.

A provision known as "Save Harmless"could take center stage. It ensures that districts don’t see a decrease in Foundation Aid funding compared to the previous year, but as enrollment decreases in many districts, that practice is being called into question.

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A battle over New York education funding begins after Hochul releases budget proposal

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

There will be plenty of fights over New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s executive budget, but because this is an election year, the most aggressive battle may be waged over education funding. The reason is timing: During election years, one of the ways lawmakers deliver to their constituents is via education aid.

The fight will be despite the governor’s proposed $35.3 billion school aid package for Fiscal Year 2025, which includes a 2.1% increase, or a $507 million increase, in Foundation Aid, the primary school funding formula making it the highest level of state funding in the state’s history.

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Two rural New York school superintendents discuss financial challenges

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Most public schools in New York are funded in two ways: State aid via the out-of-date Foundation Aid formula, and local property taxes.

If you live in a rural district where the tax base is stagnant or shrinking, the school district that serves your community will end up having to rely more heavily on state aid money, which can be precarious.

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Hochul looks to New York universities to lead on artificial intelligence

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Gov. Kathy Hochul is proposing New York's public universities and some of its top private institutions team up to stay relevant in the rapidly advancing world of artificial intelligence, or AI technology.

"The companies like Amazon and Microsoft and Google, the big tech giants, they are able to invest in these resources and make those artificial intelligence advances and the universities are being left behind," Venu Govindaraju, University at Buffalo vice president for Research and Economic Development, said.

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Advocates and lawmakers hopeful as Hochul pushes mental health clinics in schools

BY Jack Arpey New York State

In her State of the State address on Tuesday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul made expanding school based mental health access a priority.

It’s not the first time Hochul has pushed for expanded mental health clinics in schools, but the expansiveness of her 2024 proposal is going over well with advocates as well as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle with experts driving home that making it physically easier for students and families to receive this care is crucial to combatting the mental health crisis they say is being experienced in New York’s schools.

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Hochul focuses on reading education concerns in State of State address

BY Lacey Leonardi New York State

The Education Trust New York says in Rochester, 89% of students are not reading at grade level; in Syracuse, it's 87%; and Buffalo is only doing slightly better, with 76% of students not meeting grade level expectations.

Governor Kathy Hochul addressed this in her State of the State address and says she has plans to advance public schools’ adoption of the “science of reading” method. Hochul calls it her “Back to Basics” reading plan.

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New York teachers union outlines 2024 legislative priorities

BY Tim Williams New York State

Prior to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s third State of the State address, the state’s powerful teachers union, New York State United Teachers, unveiled their legislative priorities, including “sustainable” funding for State University of New York institutions, air quality and temperature in schools and “fighting to end childhood poverty.”

One of the priorities listed by NYSUT would be to make changes to the state’s pension fund. They are looking to reach “parity” for members in tiers 5 and 6 with those in tier 4. Tier 4 allows people to retire at age 55 with 30 years of service or retire at 62 regardless of service tenure. Those in tier 6 must work until the age of 63 to retire without penalty.

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Concerns about fitting new New York school holidays into future calendars

BY Viktoria Hallikaar City of Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Asian Lunar New Year was the latest holiday to be recognized by New York State public schools. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the bill in September.

While it's seen as an important way to recognize the AAPI community and give others the chance to learn more about the day, it could pose difficulties for school districts.

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New York Education Department experts discuss updating the school aid formula

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The primary school funding formula in New York is a complicated amalgam of data which may be updated for the first-time next year since its creation in 2006.

“Foundation Aid” attempts to provide school districts with the amount of state money that they need to provide students with a sound basic education. Some districts need less state aid than others because they are wealthy, and local property owners supplement state funding with property taxes.

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New York Agricultural Committee chairs and ranking members call for federal milk legislation

BY Tim Williams New York State

The top Democrats and Republicans of the state legislative agriculture committees are calling for U.S. Senate passage of the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act in a letter sent to New York’s U.S. senators, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

The Whole Milk for Health Kids Act would “reinstate” 2% and whole milk in schools. The legislation would overturn rules passed in 2010 in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

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New York Board of Regents wants money to study Foundation Aid formula in state aid request

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 7:32 PM ET Dec. 13, 2023

After last year’s record-breaking education budget, which included an additional $3.03 billion in state aid to public schools, the New York State Board of Regents on Monday requested a more down-to-earth budget increase of $1.35 billion.

Still, the request may face some strong headwinds. It’s being made while the state is facing a $4 billion-plus budget gap, and Gov. Kathy Hochul has already stated her unwillingness to hike personal income taxes on the wealthy.

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Empire Center Study looks at union influence on local boards of education

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Nonprofit Empire Center is looking into how union influence can impact the makeup of your local board of education.

They say those organizations, and the more than 5,000 mostly unpaid volunteers serving on them, have broad responsibility for public school governance in New York to oversee nearly $50 billion in budgeted expenditures. Across 676 elected school boards, they say these expenses are driven primarily by personnel costs, especially those shaped by contract negotiations with unions.

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Survey asks teachers if arming them with guns would improve school safety

BY Arin Cotel-Altman Albany/Capital Region

According to the national K-12 School Shooting Database, there have been 306 school shootings in 2023, which has surpassed the record-breaking number of 305 from last year. To try to increase safety for children, many districts have turned to school resource officers for an extra layer of protection on school grounds.

Officer Aaron Moore is one of them.

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Hochul: SUNY enrollment sees first year-to-year increase in a decade

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

For the first time in a decade, enrollment across the State University of New York campus system increased over the course of one year, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Wednesday.

Enrollment between fall 2022 and fall 2023 increased 1.1%, for a total of 367,542 more students. That's the first year-to-year increase in ten years.

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New York education officials discuss new diploma requirement recommendations

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

After nearly four years of work, New York's Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures has released its report and recommendations for changing the requirements needed to obtain a high school diploma.

State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa and Angelique Johnson-Dingle, the deputy commissioner for P-12 Instructional Support, joined Capital Tonight Tuesday discuss the recommendations.

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Jeffrey A. Matteson appointed New York senior deputy commissioner for education policy

BY Jack Arpey New York State

Jeffrey A. Matteson has been appointed senior deputy commissioner for education policy, the New York state Board of Regents and state Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced Tuesday.

Matteson has been tapped to oversee the Office of P-12 Education and the Office of Higher Education, while also serving as a member of the commissioner’s leadership team assisting in achieving the strategic goals of the state Education Department.

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Changes could soon be coming to New York graduation requirements

BY Connor Smith New York State

Significant changes could be coming to classrooms around New York soon after the Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures presented 12 recommendations to the state Education Department on Monday.

Among the top recommendations: replacing the existing three diplomas with one; incorporating ethics, financial literacy education, fine and performing arts, STEM credits and real-world writing skills into diploma credit requirements; and changing the diploma assessment requirements to create more assessment options.

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N.Y. teachers union recommends changes in testing, graduation requirements

BY John Camera Hudson Valley

Many New Yorkers may remember taking standardized tests, and how they could make or break a student's path moving forward. There are, however, growing questions as to whether such tests are the best way to judge a student and prepare them for the future.

A new report by the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) union is encouraging the state to make significant changes it says would better benefit students after graduation. The report could portend future changes in classrooms.

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Gov. Hochul orders review of discrimination on CUNY campuses

BY Bernadette Hogan New York City

Gov. Kathy Hochul is bringing down the hammer on the City University of New York.

She ordered a new, independent investigation into discrimination and antisemitism policies on Tuesday, tapping the highly respected former Chief Judge of the state, Jonathan Lippman, to run the review.

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New York PTA, teachers union team up on issues of classroom temperatures, banned books

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The New York State Parent Teacher Association (NYSPTA) and the New York State United Teachers union (NYSUT), have teamed up to discuss two issues: classroom temperatures and Banned Book Week.

Kyle Belokopitsky, executive director of the New York State PTA, and Melinda Person, president of NYSUT, spoke with Capital Tonight host Susan Arbetter about a bill sponsored by state Sen. James Skoufis and Assembly Member Latoya Joyner that establishes a maximum temperature in school buildings and indoor facilities, as well as provides a definition of extreme heat condition days.

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SUNY, CUNY, some private schools to waive application fees during period in October

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

The State University of New York, City University of New York and 40 private schools in the state will have free application opportunities for high school seniors throughout the month of October, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday.

This is the first time that SUNY, CUNY and more than 40 private institutions will join together to waive application fees.

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First $100M available for New York transition to zero-emission school buses

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York will make $100 million available for zero-emission public school buses as fleets transition to zero-emission vehicles, as required by the state's 2019 Climate Act, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Thursday.

This is the first round of funding available for these buses under the $4.2 billion Environmental Bond Act that New York voters approved in 2022. There is a total of $500 million of Environmental Bond Act money available.

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New York prohibits use of facial recognition technology in schools

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York state is prohibiting the purchasing or using of facial recognition technology in schools, the state Department of Education announced Wednesday.

Commissioner Betty Rosa said schools can decide whether to use other kinds of biometric identifiying technology that is not facial recognition, like fingerprint identification, as long as privacy, civil rights and parental input is considered.

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NYSERDA discusses financing the transition to all-electric school buses

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

New York state has a long to-do list to meet its aggressive climate goals. Under the umbrella of education, the state is required to ensure that all new school buses sold in the state be zero-emission by 2027 and all school buses on the road be zero-emission by 2035.

To assist school districts with the monumental task of transitioning to all electric school buses, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) released a roadmap this month which outlines costs, procurement measures, fleet planning options and much more.

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New York releases guidelines on transition to zero-emission school buses

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday announced the state has rolled out a roadmap for public schools to transition bus fleets to zero-emission vehicles, as required by the state's 2019 Climate Act.

The law bars school districts from purchasing additional buses that burn diesel starting in 2027 in preparation for a 2035 deadline.

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New York lawmakers want to limit school lockdown drills

BY Susan Arbetter and Tim Williams New York State

As students start a new academic year, New York state lawmakers in Albany are pushing to lower the number of lockdown drills in schools from four to one.

Assembly sponsor Jo Anne Simon, a Brooklyn Democrat, told Capital Tonight that students are “tired of being the lockdown generation” and that multiple lockdown drills make them feel less safe.

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State senator proposes temperature cap for New York classrooms

BY Spencer Conlin Albany/Capital Region

The calendar may say September, but it's feeling more like the middle of summer outside. To put it bluntly, it's hot and humid out there, and that's been a trend throughout the season.

According to climate experts, this summer has been the hottest summer on record for the world by a significant margin. In New York, it's felt uncomfortable many days, but not necessarily record-breaking.

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New York makes COVID-19 tests, masks available to schools as new year begins

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

New York state is making COVID-19 rapid test kits and masks available to school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) by request as the academic year begins, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Tuesday.

This comes amid reports of the new BA.2.86 variant and following a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the summer.

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New York school officials polled on needs before school year begins

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

Just as you prepare your child for another school year, school officials are preparing their buildings, curriculum and staff for another year of learning. However, with the recent influx of migrants to New York, some school officials say they need more skilled staff like “English as a New Language” teachers and social workers, according to a poll from the New York State School Boards Association.

Each year, the New York State School Boards Association polls superintendents from across the state to see what their views and concerns are heading into the new academic year. This year, 5% of superintendents said that they are expecting to have migrants in their student body this year, according to the poll.

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New York Education Department, AG unveil diversity, equity, and inclusion guidance for schools

BY Tim Williams and Casey Bortnick New York State

Earlier this month, the New York state Education Department, along with the office of the state attorney general, unveiled guidance for schools to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.

Kathleen DeCataldo, special advisor for the commissioner on Student Support Services, told Capital Tonight that the policies are meant to “make every child feel welcome, seen and heard.”

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Bill providing free menstrual products in non-public schools awaits action

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State

Five years after legislation required free menstrual products in public schools, New York state lawmakers have advanced legislation that would expand that to non-public schools.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the bill’s state Senate sponsor, freshman Brooklyn Democrat Iwen Chu, said the bill would go "a long way in addressing menstrual inequalities" and added, "this legislation doesn’t just address accessibility to products, but also continues to break down the stigma around menstruation."

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Former U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin discusses elections, migrants and Donald Trump

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Lee Zeldin is relaxed and talking about a recent baseball scuffle (he’s a Mets fan; while he didn’t take sides in the skirmish between Tim Anderson and José Ramírez, he did watch).

After 12 years in public office, he appreciates the opportunity to stay home with his two girls for that all-important year before they head off to college.

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Student debt forgiveness activists double down following Supreme Court decision

BY Tim Williams and Marisa Jacques New York State

Last week, the Supreme Court threw a wrench in President Biden’s proposal to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for some students.

The court in their majority opinion said that the administration did not have the authority under the HEROES Act to make this widescale change. Cody Hounanian, executive director of the Student Debt Crisis Center, told Capital Tonight that while activists were “disappointed” by the “misguided” court’s opinion, activists will be “doubling our resolve” to achieve student loan forgiveness.

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U.S. secretary of education visits to refine national career ed plan

BY Kate Lisa New York State

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona held a roundtable discussion in the Capital Region on Tuesday as federal officials start visits around the nation as part of President Joe Biden's Investing In America tour to tout his administration's efforts to bring manufacturing jobs back to American soil and alleviate foreign dependence.

The nation's higher education system needs to be prepared to train a new workforce after last year's Congress — controlled by Democrats at the time — passed bills such as the American Rescue Plan, the CHIPS and Science Act and Infrastructure law to make the U.S. economy more competitive.

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Students helped inform New York Education Department's new LGBTQ+ guidelines

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

The rate of “suicidal actions” among transgender people is far higher than the wider population, according to a fact checking article published in Newsweek.

Additionally, there is a concern that newly imposed restrictions in states like Florida and Texas on many aspects of life for gay and transgender people have created increased stress for this population – especially for trans youth.

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Amid overdose rise, New York launches addiction studies scholarship

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Three colleges in New York state are receiving money as part of the launch of a scholarship program to encourage students to study addiction services, Gov. Kathy Hochul's office on Thursday announced.

The money being made available as New York is contending with a sharp rise in overdose deaths over the last several years, which has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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New state education framework clarifies how N.Y. schools will serve transgender students

BY Kate Lisa New York State
UPDATED 9:35 PM ET Jun. 14, 2023

Teachers and school administrators in New York must call transgender students by their chosen name or pronoun, otherwise they risk violating state and federal discrimination laws, according to new guidance released by the state Education Department (SED) this week.

The department released new guidelines for schools about LGBTQ+ students' rights and how school staff should respond when a student identifies with a different gender than the one assigned to them at birth in wake of recent changes to state law and federal rulings around the issue.

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SUNY leader outlines goals amid challenges for public higher education

BY Nick Reisman New York State

As he completed his address outlining the state of the State University of New York system, Chancellor John King imagined what the coming decades will bring for the 75-year-old system.

"SUNY will be in its next 75 years, as it is now, a home and a refuge," King said. "I know there’s a place at SUNY for everyone."

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New York education advocates call for updating of school aid formula

BY Nick Reisman and Tim Williams New York State

As the three-year phase-in of a fully funded Foundation Aid enters its final year, New York education advocates are calling for an updating of the formula used to disperse education funds.

Jasmine Gripper, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education, told Capital Tonight that “we don’t want to keep waiting. Our kids have waited too long. They’ve been in crisis.”

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New York lawmakers, advocates make push to address bullying in schools

BY Nick Reisman New York State

In 2015, 13-year-old Jacobe Taras died by suicide – a death that came after Jacobe was bullied in schools. His parents, Christine and Richard Taras, are urging state lawmakers to take action.

"Where is it going to stop?" Christine Taras said Wednesday at a news conference in Albany. "Where are we going to say enough is enough?"

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How New York could provide tax relief for student borrowers

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

New York state could soon be providing some tax relief for people who are carrying federal student loan debt.

A bill approved this week in the Democratic-controlled state Senate is meant to ensure student loan forgiveness programs would be exempt from state income taxes.

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New York school budgets overwhelmingly pass; races for school board quiet

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Once again, an overwhelming majority of school districts in New York passed their annual budgets this week. While 10 failed this year – a few more than last year – 99% of budgets were approved.

“It’s obviously a great vote of confidence for our schools,” said David Albert, chief communications and marketing officer for the New York State School Boards Association. “They’ve put together some great budgets this year that will be good for kids.”

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Nearly all school district budgets pass in New York

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Nearly all of the school district budgets up for consideration by voters on Tuesday were approved, according to initial projections by the New York State United Teachers.

All told, about 99% of the budgets were approved by voters. Out of the 534 budgets up for a vote, only nine went down in defeat.

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Advocates, lawmakers call for Asian-American studies in New York schools

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York state lawmakers want to expand the social studies curriculum in schools to require the teaching of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander experiences in the U.S.

The bill re-introduced this week would add the history of the communities in New York and regionally in the United States, including movements and policies that have affected them.

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New York state, federal lawmakers want to expand SNAP for college students

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

State and federal lawmakers on Tuesday called for the passage of a measure to ensure college students can receive access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as COVID-19 pandemic-era provisions are ending.

The measure, backed by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, would expand SNAP benefits to all college students who are attending two and four-year universities on a part-time basis or need more to meet traditional income and eligibility requirements.

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About 81% of New York school kids to qualify for free meals

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

An estimated 81% of New York school children will be able to receive free breakfast and lunch due to combined state and federal aid for food programs, state lawmakers on Thursday said.

New York's state budget included $134 million for meals, money that Democratic lawmakers said will help supplement the expiration of some federal aid.

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SUNY, CUNY to review enrollment fluctuations impact

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Top officials at the State University of New York and the City University of New York will assess the long-term effect of "fluctuations" in student enrollment and develop plans to address it, according to provisions included in the final $229 billion budget deal.

Both the SUNY and CUNY systems have been affected by the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to complications in their enrollment pictures at multiple campuses.

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State Sen. Skoufis pushes bill to require recess at New York schools

BY Jacquelyn Quinones Orange County

New York state Sen. James Skoufis recently introduced a bill which if signed into law would make recess mandatory for all elementary school kids.

For most students, like 5th grader Tate Patterson, it is the only time he gets to spend with his friends outside of the classroom.

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New York's budget will aid capital costs for SUNY, CUNY

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Additional money to help maintain public higher education campuses, as well as make renovations, will head to schools in the State University of New York and City University of New York systems as part of the state budget agreement.

As expected, lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul agreed to a budget that does not increase tuition for in-state students.

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SUNY, CUNY tuition debate raises affordability questions

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

A plan to increase tuition for New York college students at the public college and university system is off the table. But now talk is turning toward funding.

State University of New York Chancellor John King says the state’s public college and university system needs more revenue and he’s been looking to the state budget.

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New York lawmakers call for stronger security plans at schools

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Top New York state education officials in New York would be required to work with State Police and homeland security to create basic standards for security and safety at schools.

The measure, backed by state Sen. James Skoufis and Assemblymember Nader Sayegh, comes in the wake of school shootings and recent so-called "swatting" incidents.

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After 'swatting' incidents at New York schools, lawmakers want to address threats

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Schools across New York have been contending with so-called "swatting" incidents: A phone call is made warning about violence, activating the police and evacuating classrooms. State lawmakers like Republican state Sen. Jim Tedisco this week proposed measures meant to hold perpatrators accountable.

In the days after dozens of schools around New York received hoax threats of violence, state lawmakers are proposing measures meant to boost safety for kids and teachers.

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Graduate workers advocate to end SUNY, CUNY fees in New York budget

BY Kate Lisa New York State

The 5,000 members of SUNY's Graduate Student Employees Union are fighting hard to include one of the Legislature's proposals in the next state budget to phase out double-digit fees taken out of their annual stipends.

Graduate student teaching staff and assistants make up the backbone of instruction at SUNY and CUNY campuses, but continue to have to pay back 15 to 20% of their annual salary back to the university system.

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More than 50 New York school districts impacted by another wave of unfounded threats, officials say

BY Luke Parsnow New York State

Dozens more schools across New York were hit by another wave of unfounded threats on Tuesday, according to officials, which follows a similar wave of unfounded reports, known as "swatting," that occurred last week.

"More than 50 school districts across New York have received disturbing 'swatting' threats today including in Central New York, Long Island, the Southern Tier and the North Country," Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "I want to reassure parents that their children are safe at school - swatting threats are false and intended to cause panic and scare students, teachers and families."

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Push for universal school meals in New York gets bipartisan support

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government provided meals to all students, but that policy ended last year.

Now, only the very poorest families qualify for federal meals programs. What advocates in Albany want is for the state to pick up the rest of the tab for all kids. The cost would be just up to $201 million a year.

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Assembly Republicans: Bolster security for New York schools

BY Nick Reisman Albany

State Assembly Republicans Thursday backed a package of measures meant to make schools safer in New York — from adding more school resource officers to addressing mental health concerns.

The announcement for the proposals, the subject of a months-long statewide listening tour on the issue by Republican lawmakers, coincided with multiple schools across parts of upstate New York receiving false threats on Thursday.

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N.Y. Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Pat Fahy on the debate over spending

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Because of falling enrollment and other issues, Gov. Kathy Hochul is urging tuition hikes at SUNY campuses in her executive budget.

She’s proposed 6% tuition increases at the state’s large research facilities in Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook, as well as lower increases at SUNY’s other campuses. The hikes would be in effect for five consecutive years, allowing in-state tuition at flagship campuses to increase by 30%, if approved by the Legislature.

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DiNapoli: New York schools need to better track digital devices

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Digital devices like laptop computers, tablets and monitors in New York schools are not being properly kept track of and can be subject to theft or damage, an audit by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office found.

The audit released on Thursday assessed the policies of 20 school districts, determining many of their information technology offices could not readily locate many of the assets.

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Assembly and Senate want universal school meals in New York

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Universal meals in New York schools is being advanced this week by state lawmakers who are backing $280 million in the budget negotiations for the plan.

The universal school meals proposal has gained traction in the state Legislature over the last several weeks, drawing support from Democrats as well as Republican lawmakers after federal support for the program ended.

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New York lawmakers will try to block SUNY, CUNY tuition hike

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Democrats in the New York state Senate will attempt to thwart Gov. Kathy Hochul's proposal to raise yearly tuition at the state's public college and universities by jettisoning a plan that would tie tuition to the Higher Education Price Index or 3%, sources familiar with the discussions said Monday night.

The state Senate is set to unveil its budget resolution this week alongside the Democratic-led state Assembly. The Senate budget proposal will not include the tuition proposal from Hochul.

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Hochul: Charter school expansion will give parents choice

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday said expanding charter schools in the state is necessary to give parents options about their children's education after vehement pushback from Democratic lawmakers and labor unions against the governor's budget proposal.

At a storm briefing at the state Department of Transportation building in Latham, the governor said the provision to create 85 new charter schools and lift New York City's regional cap on them should be in the state's next spending plan due April 1.

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Student performance dropped in New York during pandemic

BY Nick Reisman Albany

New York schools should review how they are spending federal pandemic aid to help students after data found student performance in the state dropped significantly between 2019 and 2022, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli on Monday said.

DiNapol's office released a review of the federal data showing the declining in student performance coinciding with the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with math proficiency rates among students in grade 4 dropping across all demographics.

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New York Senate Education Committee Chair Shelley Mayer against Medicaid cost-shift

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

There is a New York state budgetary issue that has emerged only recently that could have a significant impact on education in the state: The governor’s budget would shift Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funds in the Medicaid program from county governments that administer Medicaid to the state.

When asked about the cost-shift earlier this week, Gov. Kathy Hochul pointed to the billions of additional dollars sent to school districts this year. School taxes are one of the primary costs facing counties.

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Late budget request would fund scholarships for those who lost a parent to COVID-19

BY Kate Lisa New York State

With one-house budget proposals expected to come out next week, one state lawmaker is pushing for a late addition to be included to create a scholarship fund for New York children who had a parent, caregiver or sibling die or become disabled due to COVID-19.

New York City became the global epicenter of COVID-19 infections and deaths three years ago next week, spurring statewide shutdowns.

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Lawmakers: Expand access to contraception at SUNY and CUNY

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Two state lawmakers are calling for expanded access to emergency contraceptives at public college and universities in New York.

The measure, backed by Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas and state Sen. Lea Webb, would require at least one vending machine that dispenses emergnecy contraceptives.

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New York schools continue to face fiscal challenges

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Facing criticism from county leaders over her Medicaid plan, Gov. Kathy Hochul is trying to pressure school districts to cut property taxes.

But schools around New York, despite an influx of aid from the federal and state governments, are facing financial pressures brought on by inflation as well as personnel shortages.

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Education groups call for review of how school aid is distributed in New York

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Money should be set aside in the state budget to review how money for schools is distributed to districts around New York and potentially explore ways of changing it, education organizations said Monday.

The groups, which include advocacy organizations like the Alliance for Quality Education and administrative representatives like Association of School Business Officials of New York and NYS Council of School Superintendents and the umbrella labor union New York State United Teachers, are backing a call from the Board of Regents to spend $1 million to research issue.

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SCOTUS decision on student loan forgiveness could have big impact

BY Ryan Whalen Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The conservative majority in the Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan moves forward.

"They may be leaning towards not supporting the student loan forgiveness," Tully Rinckey Partner Leslie Silva said.

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Hochul calls for school tax cuts amid Medicaid cost controversy

BY Nick Reisman Albany

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday defended her budget's plan to shift key Medicaid money away from county governments as local officials and some lawmakers raise an alarm over the measure.

Hochul's budget would shift Federal Medical Assistance Percentage funds in the Medicaid program, redirecting them from county governments that administer Medicaid to the state. County officials, Democrats and Republicans alike, have protested, worried it could raise property taxes as a result.

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Advocates urge more New York charter schools to improve classroom diversity

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Advocates rallied in the state Capitol on Monday in support of Gov. Kathy Hochul's proposal to increase the number of charter schools in New York City, saying it will help address racial inequities rampant in education.

The governor proposed lifting New York City's regional cap on charter schools and allowing for 85 more in the state in her executive budget.

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SUNY union head warns of structural deficits and misplaced burdens

BY Nick Reisman and Tim Williams New York State

Next week, New York state lawmakers will hear testimony on the higher education portion of the Gov. Kathy Hochul's proposed budget. While education advocates like Frederick Kowal, of United University Professions, cheers on the second consecutive year of proposed increases in the governor’s budget, Kowal warns more funding is needed to address structural deficits at SUNY campuses and hospitals.

Included in the budget proposal was a provision that would allow the state’s four research colleges — Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo and Stony Brook — to raise tuition by 30% over the next five years. Kowal argues this further places the burden on students, whether or not they can afford it, and argues that this could be seen as a “privatization of a public good” and adds the “state must commit public funds to these public institutions.”

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New York public higher education union urges hospital funding

BY Nick Reisman Albany

The union that represents faculty and staff at the State University of New York system urged state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul to back $175 million for the state's three teaching hospitals in order to bolster their finances.

The United University Professions has been pushing for additional funding at SUNY campuses around New York over the last several weeks as the state budget season is underway in Albany.

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