Hinchey details some stimulus aid ($607,000 for Marlboro)

KINGSTON — As layoffs accumulate in the private sector and the state Legislature negotiates a budget likely to cut jobs from the public sector, U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey outlined some of the impacts of President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill on New York Monday, including money coming to school districts.

Some highlights included $2.77 billion for infrastructure projects across the state, including upgrades to the highway and transit. Hinchey, D-Hurley, listed projects for which he has secured aid as the types of infrastructure upgrades for which the plan will pay, such as the $11 million replacement of Kingston sewer lines and $4.6 million for the replacement of the Kerhonkson bridge. He also listed The Solar Energy Consortium as a potential beneficiary of federal money.

Hinchey said consumption by working class families drives 71 percent of the country’s commerce, and as such, other highlights included $12.65 billion extra for state Medicaid funding; tax cuts for 7.1 million families, and food stamp benefits for 2.1 million.

On education, Hinchey estimated 461,816 college students across the state would benefit from Pell grant increases of $500, and said $2,500 tax credits for families of college students would make higher education more accessible to an estimated 295,000 students..

College administrations around the region, particularly those at community colleges, have said enrollment tends to increase during recessions as laid off workers “retrain.”

Hinchey also provided a list of how local districts will share in $500 million of the bill’s total $3.03 billion reserved for the state. The $500 million is reserved for disadvantaged and special needs children.

“If we don’t have a good education system, the quality of the whole country will decline,” Hinchey said.

Robert Pritchard, an assistant superintendent at the Kingston School District, which is set to get $3.08 million of the money reserved for disadvantaged and special needs children, said Monday the district was not expecting the windfall, but warned “we do not know what restrictions accompany these funds” and that it still only fits into a small portion of the district’s budget. The district budget’s first draft’s appropriations totaled about $141.7 million.

Meanwhile, Saugerties schools’ Business Manager Joseph Dzidak said his district has heard it could receive an estimated $1 million, but he had “not seen anything definitive” and was waiting to see how the funds would be distributed over two years and how the other $2.5 billion coming to the state to restore cuts to state aid — the governor’s proposed budget includes a $2 million cut to Saugerties — would be distributed throughout the state.

The state Council of School Superintendents said half of that money will not be available until 2010.

Other allocations of the $9.3 million distributed “on a formula basis” to Ulster County school districts on the list included $967,000 for Rondout Valley; $1 million for Saugerties; $680,000 for Onteora; $786,000 for Ellenville; $543,000 for Highland; $661,000 for New Paltz; $997,000 for Wallkill; and $607,000 for Marlboro.

In Dutchess, the only school district to receive such funding, according to Hinchey, will be the Poughkeepsie city school district, which was allotted $2.15 million.

The House of Representative’s Committee on Education and Labor estimated Catskill schools would receive $736,000; Cairo-Durham would receive $522,000; Coxsackie-Athens would receive $531,000; Hunter-Tannersville would receive $224,000; and Germantown would receive $197,000.


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