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New York City’s largest budget proposes spending millions on testing and tutoring

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing spending $500 million dollars to help public school students catch up on lost learning after a tumultuous school year during the pandemic as part of his 2022 budget. 

“A recovery for all of us starts by investing in working families across New York City. The pandemic hit us hard but together we will fight back and drive a recovery in every neighborhood,” de Blasio said during remarks before announcing the budget. The city council will now have until June 1 to modify and pass de Blasio’s proposed executive budget with spending to go into effect a month later.

“We are meeting the moment with direct investments in education, small businesses, open space and public health, and we are building up reserves to continue our strong fiscal foundation for the future. “

The funds would go towards boosting math and English Language Arts instruction tutoring services and testing, according to the mayor’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget released earlier this week. 

De Blasio’s budget is scant on details on the  investment only describing it as “intense academic recovery for every student,” that will “establish baselines with assessment data, core ELA & math instruction and teacher planning time.” Officials from the Department of Education say the tests will determine if students need additional learning time in math or English. 

“This will be a major priority of the administration as our school communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19,” said DOE spokesperson Katie O’Hanlon in an email to amNewYork Metro. Officials say the department will release more details of its effort to ramp up testing and tutoring “in the coming weeks.”

De Blasio’s budget also proposes investing $155 million in offering more digital tools to improve technology literacy among public school students across the five boroughs and allotting $12 million towards expanding restorative justice efforts at middle and high schools. A DOE spokesperson said again details on the expanded effort would be given in the coming weeks and stressed that the due to city’s restorative justice initiative school suspensions have decreased by 66 % since the 2013-14 academic year. 

Other investments in education that will come during the next fiscal year include the $600 million towards Fair Student Funding, the main formula that determines how much money high-need public school receive, and the city’s plan to provide 3-k for All across all school districts. In addition, officials have pledged to bring community schools to all districts bumping up total number of community schools from 266 to 406 as part of larger effort of using schools to help families recover from the pandemic. 

Both efforts are made possible by billions of dollars worth of federal stimulus funds from Washington. 

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