HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand stood at the Center Street Elementary School in Horseheads promoting legislation that would expand community school funding and bolster services for low-income and underserved students, families, and communities.

“This pandemic has only deepened the challenges educators and school staff face while trying to support students struggling inside and outside of the classroom — underserved students are at even higher risk of falling behind, and cash-strapped public schools have had limited funding to support them. The Full-Service Community School Expansion Act provides a solution,” said Senator Gillibrand. 

Sen. Gillibrand to call for legislation to expand money for education

The Senator says that the Full-Service Community School Expansion Act of 2021 “would deliver more than $3.6 billion to expand community schools in New York State and around the country to provide integrated student support, expanded and enriched learning opportunities, collaborative leadership, and family and community engagement – including medical, mental, and nutrition health services, mentoring and youth development programs, and continuing education courses.”

“This bill delivers vital resources, technical assistance, and infrastructure to support states, districts, and schools looking to implement or expand community schools. This expanded grant funding would allow for greater federal support for community schools across New York and the country to bolster student services through academic opportunities and mentoring programs, and provide critical nutritional, medical, and mental health services for students to thrive.”

Currently, the Full-Service Community Schools grant program is funded at just $30 million and, according to Gillibrand, does not have adequate funding to serve New York school districts in need of resources to establish community schools or support those already established.

“I will keep working alongside my colleagues to pass this legislation and deliver critical funding to support the comprehensive needs of students both in and out of the classroom.”

According to the Senator’s office, the Full-Service Community School Expansion Act of 2021 would:

  • Invest $3.65 billion over the next five years to plan, implement, expand, and support full-service community schools serving low-income students;
  • Provide renewable grant opportunities and additional resources to existing community schools to build collaborative leadership structures and strengthen wraparound services that support the needs of students, families, and neighborhoods;
  • Build out community school infrastructure by funding the establishment of state-level teams that provide professional development opportunities and resources for community school staff, work with schools and local educational agencies (LEAs) to develop and implement restorative justice principles, and collaborate with LEAs on integrating supports for community schools; and
  • Set aside up to 5% of funds for technical assistance and support to leverage federal, state, and local resources that address health care and early childhood education, and connect LEAs with other statewide institutions and funding opportunities.

Senator Gillibrand was joined by Horseheads Central School District Superintendent Dr. Thomas Douglas and James Frame, Superintendent for GST BOCES.