School Desk

State leaders agree on fiscal 2018 budget


Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state senate majority leader John Flanagan, Sen. Jeffrey Klein, and Assembly speaker Carl Heastie announced an agreement last week on the fiscal 2018 state budget that increases education aid by $1.1 billion. It also includes a $700 million increase in Foundation Aid — money public schools receive from the state, and part of the education department’s operating budget, according to a statement by the governor.

Cuomo added lawmakers found room in the budget to fund the Excelsior Scholarship Program, which provides free tuition to families making up to $125,000 per year to attend city and state schools full-time. The program will be phased in over a three-year period, beginning this fall for families with household incomes of no more than $100,000 annually.

Klein, who also heads up the legislature’s Independent Democratic Conference, said the budget also includes additional tuition awards for independent colleges and universities, with students receiving up to $6,000 including the tuition assistance program.

Nearly 10,000 eligible for gifted programs
More than 34,900 kids took exams, and a little less than a third — 9,997 to be exact — found out last week they are eligible for the gifted and talented programs at their schools.
The city education department notified chosen families of students, attending school between kindergarten and third grade.
Last year, more than 10,900 students were eligible for gifted and talented programs of nearly 36,000 who took the exam.
The gifted and talented programs test measures verbal reasoning, comprehension, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

New principals at two schools
It’s official. Steven Schwartz, who served as interim principal at Spuyten Duyvil P.S. 24, is now officially the head of the school.

Over at Milton Fein P.S. 7 in Kingsbridge, Miosotis Ramos was named the interim principal. She has worked at the school for more than nine years and was most recently Fein’s assistant principal, according to the education department.
Longtime principal Frank Patterson left P.S. 7 to become the Bronx representative at the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.

Manhattan announces two grad speakers
Class of 1974 alumnus Thomas Moran, chairman of the board of Mutual of America Life Insurance Co., will receive an honorary degree in humane letters and address Manhattan College’s Class of 2017 at its commencement ceremony May 19.

Moran retired as Mutual’s chief executive officer last year after serving as the company’s president from 1994 to 2013. During that time, Mutual grew from a retirement association to a leading provider of retirement plans.
Moran also served on Manhattan’s trustees board from 1995 to 2003 and Irish America magazine named Moran one of the top 100 Irish-American business people.

One day before, Bettye Perkins — founder, president and chief executive officer of Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Teachers — will receive an honorary degree in pedagogy and address Manhattan’s graduates at spring commencement. Perkins launched the group in 1994.

Today its teacher of color recruitment model has been replicated in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Virginia.

Calling all poets
Community Board 8’s youth committee is seeking poets between 13 and 20 years of age for its fifth annual Youth Poetry Slam on May 4. It starts at 6:30 p.m., at the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, 3101 Kingsbridge Terrace.

Registration runs through May 3.