Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New York Wins In Federal “Race to the Top”

Law passed to raise standards,
cap on charter schools will net
$700 million for public education

The announcement today that New York State will receive about $700 million as a winner in the federal “Race to the Top” competition means public school districts throughout Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties will see increased funding.
“This is welcome news indeed for our school districts throughout Central and Northern New York,” said Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, who supported the changes required for New York to become eligible for this funding. “Educating our young people is important for the future of the region and our state. This funding could not come at a better time considering the difficult decisions made to close a $9 billion budget gap. Add that to the $600 million from the federal government’s jobs bill and we are looking at significant restorations for our schools.”

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate and House passed legislation that will provide $2.5 billion in federal funding for New York, including $600 million for public schools. That funding, based on current school aid formulas, would bring $6.27 million for Oswego County, $3.8 million for Jefferson County, and another $4.4 million for St. Lawrence County schools, according to news reports. The $696.65 million in “Race to the Top” funding would be divided in half and distributed according to aid formulas over a 4-year cycle with the other half being distributed in additional grants.

In the first round of Race to the Top funding awards in March, New York finished out of the running because it did not meet requirements in the federal program. Sen. Aubertine worked with his colleagues to pass legislation that raised the cap on the number of charter schools, met national standards and installed comprehensive tracking of educational outcomes in New York State to improve the state’s chances of obtaining this funding, almost all of which will go toward public education.

“This program is intended to improve educational outcomes and without passing legislation to meet the federal criteria, this money would not be coming to Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties,” Sen. Aubertine said. “It was certainly worth the effort to work with my colleagues to ensure we had the support needed to make us eligible for this funding and I want to thank all involved, both at the state and federal levels, in securing this funding.”

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