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Only $17M of Available Education Grants Awarded in New York

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Only a relatively small amount of students benefited from competitive grants given by the State of New York, according to information collected from a report which says Gov. Cuomo’s plans to issue more grants may have come too soon.

Out of 700 school districts in the state, only approximately 10 percent of them have asked for one of the performance grants that were made available by Gov. Cuomo. $25 million were made available as part of a performance improvement grants program. When it comes to management efficiency grants, only 38 districts have applied for them.

After a final review of applications was made, only 28 districts were awarded performance improvement grants which totaled $10.2 million. These grants would benefit just 3.6 percent of students in New York. The grants are given to school districts to help them increase the academic performance of their students.

Management efficiency grants were made available to school districts who identified ways to save money. However, only around $7 million was awarded in such grants, out of $25 million available. This means that less than 2.3 percent of districts benefited from the management efficiency grants program.

Despite the fact that few districts have received them, the grants will still be on the budget proposed for next year by Cuomo. The new budget adds $75 million in grants programs for early college high school programs, community schools, additional learning time, full day prekindergarten and high performing teachers.

There are limits on the amount awarded based on the size of the school district, which limits the benefits brought by winning a grant. The report says that this may discourage some school districts in New York from even bothering to apply for grants, which in some cases amounted to just $20 for each student.

A spokesman for the Cuomo administration says that they expect more school districts to participate in upcoming grant competitions. In the first round, only the districts that have a new teacher evaluation plan approved by the state can participate, which disqualifies many districts from participating.

Besides increasing the amount of grants given, Cuomo has made a proposal to increase the amount of money the state spends on its schools by 4.4 percent in the next school year.

The Citizens Budget Commission, which is behind the report, says that it would be preferable if grant money was handed out based on the needs of individual districts.

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