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NY Governor Hochul Awards $100 Million to 50 School Districts to Support Efforts to Combat Pandemic Learning Loss and Expand Access to Mental Health Care

Governor Kathy Hochul today awarded $100 million for 50 school districts and BOCES to address pandemic learning loss and provide students with mental health support. The funding will expand student access to evidence-based interventions to combat learning loss and also help staff and students identify and respond to mental health concerns. Today’s announcement builds on Governor Hochul’s priority to expand mental health support for students.

“New York is making historic investments to ensure all our students are on the path towards success,” Governor Hochul said. “This funding will help our teachers and school staff pinpoint where students have fallen behind and provide students with the crucial resources needed to support their mental health, especially after the pandemic.”

15 school districts and BOCES across the state have received the Learning Loss Recover from COVID School Program (RECOVS) Grant. The funding will expand student access to academic recovery professionals to counter learning loss; improve capacity for school staff and students to identify learning loss; implement evidence-based and evidence-informed school-based learning loss and academic recovery practices; and ensure financial stability for school-based academic recovery opportunities.

40 school districts and BOCES have received the Mental Health RECOVS grant that expands and supports practices that promotes mental health and wellness, improves capacity for staff and students to identify mental health concerns and increase help-seeking behaviors, and promotes student diversity, equity, and inclusion.

State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “The RECOVS grant funding underscores our commitment to fostering equitable access to education opportunities and mental health services for all students. By addressing lost instructional time and prioritizing student well-being, we aim to create an inclusive educational environment that empowers every learner to thrive in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said, “The Board of Regents and I are delighted with this significant funding dedicated to enhancing student well-being and addressing learning loss. This critical support will empower educators to create nurturing environments as our school communities continue to navigate the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic.”

State Senator Shelley B. Mayer said, “I am so pleased that through $100 million in state funding that my Senate colleagues and I were able to secure with support from Governor Hochul, 50 school districts and BOCES across New York State will receive the financial support they need to address student learning loss and mental health challenges. I am especially pleased that several school districts that I represent, Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District, the Yonkers City School District, and districts that were part of the Southern Westchester BOCES application, will receive shares of this funding. Over the past few months, I have been fortunate to tour schools across the state – including Canajoharie – to observe the innovative work schools are doing to address these exact issues, and was impressed with their efforts. With these grants, more schools will be able to secure the resources they desperately need to address learning loss and mental health challenges to New York’s students.”

State Senator John Liu said, “The learning loss and mental health concerns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a significant challenge for schools to overcome, so this investment will help get our kids and teachers the support they need to get back on track. Thanks to Governor Hochul for this commitment to prioritizing and expanding mental health support for our students.”

In August 2023, Governor Hochul announced $100 million was available for school districts through the Learning Loss and Mental Health RECOVS Program.

Pandemic Learning Loss RECOVS awardees:

School Districts/BOCESAward Amount
Amityville School District$1,030,422
Broome Tioga BOCES$4,147,183
Buffalo City School District$2,883,515
Clyde-Savannah Central School District$1,188,000
Cuba-Rushford Central School$308,298
Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES$667,742
Hempstead Union Free School District$5,000,000
Lyons Central School District$1,373,141
New York City Public Schools$19,722,761
Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District$2,400,000
Sodus Central School District$1,308,000
Solvay Union Free School District$1,187,298
Syracuse City School District$5,000,000
Watertown City School District$1,783,640
Yonkers City School District$2,000,000

Mental Health RECOVS awardees:

School Districts/BOCESAward Amount
Auburn Enlarged City School District$828,421
Baldwinsville Central School District$568,022
Bellmore Union Free School District$431,724
Buffalo City School District$5,000,000
Canajoharie Central School District$163,602
Carmel Central School District$227,432
Clarence Central School District$921,702
Dryden Central School District$231,820
Dunkirk City School District$290,572
East Quogue Union Free School District$663,180
Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES$364,202
Freeport Union Free School District$1,344,000
Gouverneur Central School$508,336
Gowanda Central School District$182,733
Haverstraw-Stony Point Central School District$3,499,312
Hendrick Hudson School District$474,770
Iroquois Central School District$200,000
Liverpool Central School District$3,925,110
Lyons Central School District$1,368,357
Monroe 1 BOCES$373,262
Moravia Central School District$360,880
Oneida City School District$1,000,000
Peekskill City School District$2,207,130
Pine Bush Central School District$503,829
Red Hook Central School District$786,400
Rochester City School District$1,266,800
Roxbury Central School District$231,440
Saranac Central School District$2,487,466
Schenectady City School District$2,491,944
Schodack Central School District$151,852
Shenendehowa Central School District$248,581
South Country Central School District$252,500
South Glens Falls$2,560,877
Southern Westchester BOCES$2,347,319
Syracuse City School District$5,000,000
Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga BOCES$702,556
Tonawanda City School District$1,250,106
Wappingers Central School District$2,527,780
Williamsville Central School District$55,983
Yonkers City School District$2,000,000

Since taking office, Governor Hochul has increased school funding by record amounts – a total of $5 billion over two years. This year, Governor Hochul is proposing $35.3 billion in total School Aid, the highest amount in New York State’s history. The FY 2024 Budget provided a historic $34.5 billion to New York’s schools to help give every student the tools to succeed through a high-quality education.

Addressing youth mental health concerns has always been a priority for Governor Hochul and is a critical component of her historic $1 billion plan to enhance, expand and strengthen mental health services across the State. Her plan includes $30 million to expand mental health services for school-aged children, including $20 million for school-based mental health services and $10 million to implement wraparound services training, as well as regulatory changes to close gaps in insurance coverage for mental health care and substance use disorder services. This includes requiring commercial insurance plans to cover services provided in school-based mental health clinics. The Governor also announced the creation of new Home-Based Crisis Intervention teams and expansion of existing teams, which provide critical mental health services to at-risk children and youth and help them avoid psychiatric hospitalization.

Last summer, the Governor hosted the State’s first Summit on Youth Mental Health, which brought together state and national experts as well as service providers and stakeholders to discuss the challenges young people face today. She also directed the NYS Office of Mental Health and Office of Children and Family Services to conduct a statewide Listening Tour on Youth Mental Health to hear directly from kids across the state about their experiences with mental health care, and how the system can be strengthened.

In this year’s State of the State address, Governor Hochul proposed measures that will dramatically expand access to services for children, youth and families. The proposals include establishing school-based mental health clinics for any school that wants one, introducing legislation to limit social media features that are harmful to young people, establishing new Youth Assertive Community Treat (ACT) teams, and expanding loan repayment programs for children’s mental health practitioners.

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “In addition to dramatically increasing access, providing mental health services in schools helps to reduce stigma, and encourages youth to seek out help if they have any mental health concerns large or small.. These awards will help us serve more children, youth and families across the State and lead to better health outcomes for more young people. I am thankful to Governor Hochul for providing these resources and for her unwavering commitment to children’s mental health.”

New York State School Boards Association Executive Director Robert Schneider said, “NYSSBA supports and appreciates the state’s dedicated investment in school districts’ efforts to aggressively respond to the myriad of student impacts associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

New York State United Teachers President Melinda Person said, “NYSUT has long advocated for fulfilling the needs of the whole student – including mental health – as critical to academic success. These state investments bring us closer to our goal of building the safe and supportive classrooms that our students need to reach their full potential.”

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said, “Our school’s communities are still hurting. This funding is designed to recognize and tackle this reality. The challenge now is to make sure these funds reach the students.”

SAANYS Executive Director Kevin Casey said, “As school districts continue to meet the challenges of the past few years, school administrators identify the mental health needs of students and the school community as one of their highest priorities. SAANYS is buoyed to see needed resources being directed to our schools to meet the complexities facing students and staff on a daily basis. We are certain the RECOVS funding will be utilized efficiently and effectively and bolster the work currently underway.”

Conference of Big 5 School Districts Executive Director Jennifer K. Pyle said, “On behalf of the nearly 50 percent of the State’s public-school children who are educated in the Big 5 school districts, we are truly grateful for the Governor and the Legislature’s support for critical programs and services to address the myriad of pandemic related needs of our schools through the RECOVS Grants. These resources will enable school districts to fund essential academic and mental health programs and services in order to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic. The needs of the Big 5 school districts are immense and the RECOVS dollars will support our school districts in their steadfast commitment to ensuring that each and every child is afforded the supports necessary to succeed.”

January 31 2024 Albany New York

Source: Governor Hochul Awards $100 Million to 50 School DistrictsMidtown Tribune news
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