Capital Region

Santabarbara proposes hike in education aid from lottery revenue

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CAPITOL — Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara introduced a bill Thursday to increase the New York State Lottery’s education aid by 30 percent and send the funds to school districts as emergency COVID relief aid.

The announcement comes as Schenectady schools see a $28.5 million deficit and look at 400-plus layoffs in the district.

“The additional funds would help get schools the funding they need to safely reopen,” Santabarbara said. “Among other funding needs, school districts are in desperate need of funding to implement effective testing for COVID-19 and meet recommended health and safety guidelines to safeguard the health and well-being of students, teachers and staff.”

The lottery has been helping to pay for schools for over 50 years and today makes up 14 percent of state aid. A 2017-18 report from the state lottery shows that a third of its traditional play earnings went toward state education, $2.4 billion of $8 billion total.

With his “Emergency School Relief Act of 2020,” Santabarbara thinks schools deserve more.

“We’ve all had to make enormous sacrifices during COVID-19, but when it comes to public education, our kids have already lost too much,” Santabarbara said of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 20 percent funding cuts.

“The governor absolutely does not have my support on the devastating cuts he’s proposing that will do nothing more than devastate public education. This is a time to look for solutions, not create more problems. It’s crucial that we all work together to support public education needs during these critical times. Students and teachers need to know that we always have their backs, even under these difficult circumstances.”

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