Grade 8 student at Fermi Kelsey School, with Mayor LR Mike Spano, Assemblyman Nader Sayegh, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, State Senator Shelley Mayer, Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, YPS Superintendent Dr. Edwin Quezada
Record $31.5 billion in total statewide school aid for the 2023 school year and a record $360.1 million in state aid to Yonkers Public Schools
Governor Kathy Hochul visited Yonkers on April 28 and was hosted at Enrico Fermi School, where she highlighted the recently passed budget and the record amount of education aid distributed to school districts across the country. State and Yonkers Public Schools.
Governor Hochul: “I’m so proud to have signed a budget, to have supported a budget that has the largest investment in education in the history of our state…$31.5 billion to help transform the life of our children. Every penny is worth it.
“The question we ask ourselves every day, ‘What’s best for New Yorkers, what’s best for our children, and what’s best for their coming ?’ And I believe this transformative budget does just that.
“These investments include a $2.1 billion increase in statewide school aid, including a $1.5 billion increase in Foundation aid and a $125 million increase dollars for pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds. Additionally, the budget provides $100 million in matching funds to provide academic and mental health supports to students and educators.
“We are very lucky to be here. Also, in the home of our Majority Leader for the New York State Senate, a person of great courage, intelligence, and compassion. And that’s our Majority Leader, Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
“And I want to thank our school superintendent, superintendent for over seven years, making a difference every day, Dr. Edwin Quesada, Dr. Quesada.
“I also have amazing partners at the state level, Senator Shelley Mayer, who is the chair of the Senate Education Committee who is fighting for every dollar that has appeared in our budget, as well as Nader Sayegh, I want to thank him for being such a friend and ally and a true fighter for your district, a true fighter.
“But also traveling to this community has just been a great honor and no matter where I go, when I hear about Westchester there is an immense sense of pride in having the best students, the best teachers, the best schools.
“And regardless of socio-economic status as a community, it’s about leadership, as I mentioned. So a school like this, which on paper is not a wealthy school district, performs the same or better than other wealthier districts. It’s a story that’s powerful locally, but it’s also a story that inspires other school districts and says that if they can make it in Yonkers, with a beautifully diverse community, a lot of new Americans will settle here. .
They exceed all expectations and have a graduation rate of over 90% which is astounding to me. So you do your job here. You do your job and we have to do ours at the state level.
“It will also continue to fully fund, something called Foundation Aid. You know what I’m talking about? It’s a battle. It’s been a Battle Royale for a long time. And it was decided that communities like Yonkers and others needed extra help. And that help was denied for too long, so we settled the lawsuit. We put the money in the budget. We will continue to do so until we make these communities whole with the Foundation help they deserve.
“So, Superintendent, how does that sound like $360 million for your school district. Would you accept this? I thought you would. $360 million is an increase of over $25 million. And that’s amazing, $246 million for Foundation Aid, another 5% increase over the previous year.
Hochul spoke about students trying to learn during the pandemic. “You kept them away from this nurturing environment for almost two years, and now you’re back home and every house was different. Some people had guardians who looked after their children, making sure they had everything. The password was correct, they could turn on the device. The classroom was there, in their house. Other children did not have broadband at home. They didn’t have internet. They could have had a cell phone as the family, and I heard this story, several kids shared this to try to learn on a cell phone all day. Can you imagine looking at this all day and saying this was your education?
“I’m so excited, I’m proud of this school district. I’m proud of everyone who is part of this whole ecosystem because your graduates, students from kindergarten through eighth through high school, have a chance. They have a chance not only to survive, but also to thrive, and that’s why these investments made sense. It was the right thing to do,” Hochul said.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “How long have we been fighting this fight. When I came to the Senate, I wanted to correct inequalities in education. We had a governor who didn’t want to pay (help for the foundation) because it was too expensive. Then we had a governor who said we couldn’t pay because of the recession.
During COVID, we knew the inequity and who suffered the most. Then Governor Hochul came along, saw the imperative and came up with an amazing budget that already had the funding (foundation aid) and she pledged to continue next year. She understands the values that matter to build the future we need – Thank you Governor.
Kelsey knows she can be senator-president – astronaut whatever you want to be – that’s what education did – stop limiting people –
an 8and A student from Fermi, Kelsey, introduced the Governor and made an impression on those present. “Kelsey knows she can be a senator or president or an astronaut. You can be anything you want to be. That’s what education did, it stopped limiting people,” Stewart-Cousins said.