EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Senator John Mannion visited the Park Hill School in the East Syracuse Minoa District (ESM) Wednesday afternoon, outlining the record $1.1 billion in education funding for local schools, as well as the expansion of Pre-K and early childhood learning programs.

Mannion was joined by ESM’s superintendent Dr. Donna Desiato, Park Hill’s principal Pamela Buddendeck, local educators, and students, all of whom highlighted the importance and impact this funding has on the Central New York community’s youngest members.

“I spent nearly three decades in the classroom and I know the challenges when budgets get tight. This spending plan is a policy statement that education is a priority and the old, unfair, and broken, way of approaching school funding is quickly going away,” said Mannion.

In Mannion’s district, the 50th Senate District, the new budget provides an expansion of up to 10 new full-day Pre-K programs that would serve more than 800 students.

It also provides the framework for fully-funded Foundation Aid within 3 years, something Mannion says is long overdue. Dr. Desiato explained that this is the aid that is used for a school district’s overall instruction and programs.

“When you put the whole package together, it’s a win-win-win,” said Dr. Desiato. “It’s a win for our children and their education. It’s a win for the wholeness of our programs and how they’re truly funded, in a more balanced and equitable manner. And it’s a win for the fact that it will give some relief, and if nothing else, certainly our tax payers won’t be continuing to increase their share of [education funding].”

Schools in the district will average nearly a 9% year-over-year increase.

$105 million in aid will also be available to expand pre-k programs. Funding will be prioritized to districts who don’t currently have a state-funded pre-kindergarten program. Funding will increase by $20 million for the next two years for pre-k programs.

“It’s very clear in the research that [pre-k] does make a difference,” said Dr. Desiato. “The window of opportunity for a child’s learning and brain development is at that key stage between the ages of 3 and 4, and 4 and 5 when the brain is continuing to develop. So to be able to open our doors for 4-year-olds is really very significant in New York State. And New York State has made a smart investment.”

In the 50th Senate District, full-day Pre-K programs for 4-year-olds will be available to the following school districts: 

  • Baldwinsville
  • Fayetteville-Manlius
  • Jamesville-Dewitt
  • Liverpool
  • Marcellus
  • North Syracuse
  • Skaneateles
  • Tully
  • West Genesee
  • Westhill 

Districts have their choice of opting in.

Below is the full breakdown of funding for schools in the 50th district.

School DistrictTotal Aid ($$)State Aid Increase ($$)State Aid % Increase
Auburn62,790,522 3,662,1988.06%
East Syracuse-Minoa41,419,0673,445,12511.47%
North Syracuse97,037,0436,976,3709.87%
West Genesee46,435,2343,125,0458.89%