KINGSTON – Kingston educators and elected officials Wednesday celebrated the news of historic increases to Foundation Aid funding in the state’s 2021-22 budget.
Ulster County school districts will see a $10.5 million increase. The Kingston City School District will have a 9.1 percent increase, $51 million in total Foundation Aid funding, the highest increase in the county, only second to Marlboro School District’s 24 percent increase.
Senator Michelle Hinchey (D, Saugerties) said disparity among foundation funding to districts throughout the state has made its first step to leveling out.
“We are here today because we know that our schools are the backbones of our communities and really the central pillars of Ulster County and across New York State,” said Hinchey. “No matter where you live, every child, no matter their financial means, or location, deserves access to a good, public education,” she said.
Kingston Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Padalino said this funding will allow the district to meet students’ needs with more robust programs and at the same time ease the taxpayers within the district.
“The social-emotional wellbeing and health of our students is very important, especially coming out of this pandemic, so we’ll be adding to our already robust curriculum around social-emotional learning, adding to our technology and our infrastructure to make sure, if we do have remote learning, students will be able to access everything they need to be successful and we did, what we’ve been able to, provide some tax relief for our community by having a zero percent increase to our tax levy this year,” said Padalino.
This increase in foundation funding is happening across the state in a phased approach. 2022 will have every district within the state receive 60 percent of the formula’s assistance. That will continue into 2023 with an 80 percent boost and 2024 being the full, 100 percent of foundation funding for every district in the state.