Today’s news:

No funding bump for area schools

Public schools in Coney Island and Bensonhurst will receive $13.6 million to lower class size and fund after-school programs.

The money, dubbed Contracts for Excellence, is an offshoot of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit. The case found that city public schools have been severely underfunded and ordered the distribution of additional monies.

This is the third year that Contracts for Excellence money will be distributed but the first year that there will be no increase in funding.

“Given the severe economic downtown faced by the state and the nation, New York State held state foundation aid flat,” according to the city Department of Education (DOE).

“The allocation that schools received last year is the same exact allocation that the schools received this year,” School District 21 Community Superintendent Ann Marie Lettieri-Baker said at a meeting of the local Community Education Council (CEC).

Although the Contracts for Excellence funding will remain the same, it will support fewer services. That’s because of rising teacher salaries and other expenses.

“Even though expenses increased and inflation affected the schools, they are expected to do the same with their Contracts for Excellence money,” Lettieri-Baker explained.

In District 21, the majority of Contracts for Excellence money will be used to fund before- and after-school programs.

Nearly 28 percent of the money will go toward reducing class size by keeping two teachers in a single classroom.

More than 15 percent will be used for “teacher and principal quality initiatives,” such as professional mentoring.

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