State budget plan includes $1.1 billion boost to education

State leaders have finally agreed on the details of a new budget which is expected to have a significant impact on the education of children and teens throughout Westchester County.

The new budget proposes a record increase of $1.1 billion in education aid.

According to state Sen. David Carlucci, some of that money will go toward school districts that need it most.

He says the $2.2 million in additional funding set aside for the Ossining School District could be used to hire more teachers or add extra-curricular activities.

Officials say $3 million has been set aside for the East Ramapo School District, which could be used to restore full-day kindergarten or bring back arts and music programs.

"We have some of the highest property taxes in the nation and we cannot continue to pit schoolchildren against property taxpayers," Carlucci says.

The budget also includes a plan to phase in free tuition to state schools for families with a household income of less than $125,000. That could have a huge impact on the 92,000 families across the Hudson Valley with college-age children. It's estimated more than 60 percent would be eligible for free tuition.

In addition to these proposed changes, the budget also raises the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 and allows ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber to operate statewide.

The state Assembly and Senate still need to vote on the budget before it is finalized.

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