Assemblymember Wallace: Budget Boosts Funding for K-12 Education, Aids in College Affordability

“Quality public education is essential to our families, our economy, and our future. With this budget, we are demonstrating how deeply we value our public schools and teachers.I’m proud to have joined my colleagues in advocating for and passing a budget that provides $36.3 billion for K-12 public schools, ensures no school district will receive less funding than last year, and makes college more affordable for middle-class students.

“Our spending plan raises overall school aid by $1.3 billion over last year’s historic funding commitment, including millions more for school districts located in my Assembly District. This includes an increase of $1.7 million, or nearly 9%, in Foundation Aid for Maryvale School District, which far exceeds any costs incurred by the district to educate the students seeking asylum. This budget also includes the expanded free meals program enacted last year, providing efree breakfast and lunch to all students in Buffalo, Depew and the four Cheektowaga school districts. Additionally, $14 million is included for teacher centers to support teachers in curriculum development.For students attending nonpublic schools, the budget includes $25 million to assist those schools with safety upgrades to secure buildings. 

“To assist students with the cost of attending college, the enacted state budget contains the largest expansion to the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) in a generation, raising the family income threshold from $80,000 to $125,000 and increasing the minimum award from $500 to $1,000. This spending plan also provides $60 million in operating aid to SUNY schools and $60 million in funding for campus upgrades. 

“Finally, the budget provides $250 million in funding to establish the Empire Artificial Intelligence consortium, which will be located at the University of Buffalo and will perform cutting-edge research and development on artificial intelligence technology, making our community a global leader in AI for decades to come.”