Preview - The American Rescue Plan and Children ... And Much More in the March Edition of TCA's E-News
What The American Rescue Plan Means For Children
Significant Wins for State Children in Need
The pandemic, along with the economic downturn and flaring racial injustice, has created new hardships and worsened others. But more often than not it has just exposed hardships that have long plagued too many children, often left behind because of poverty, racism, health inequities, and trauma. Now, at all levels of New York government – local, state, and federal – we see a much sharper awareness and intensity of commitment for positive changes for children, both immediate and long-term.
Before the American Rescue Plan passed, the pandemic-related collapse in combined New York State and local budgets was heading toward a projected $59 billion revenue shortfall through 2022, one of the deepest funding holes of any state. But thanks to the American Rescue Plan, Sen. Schumer's office estimates that shortfall is practically wiped out, with a massive, game-changing opportunity now to help channel new revenue streams.
New Revenue Streams for NYS as a Result of the American Rescue Plan
Over $23.8 billion in new federal aid to New York State and local governments, including $207 million to the City of Rochester and $145 million to Monroe County,
$9 billion in new K-12 aid, including an estimated $287 million to the Rochester City School District,
$2.7 billion in new Medicaid funding, and
$632 million in new funding to New York State to deal with the digital divide.
The spending listed above doesn't include any of the estimated $8 billion additional revenue that, as of this writing, the New York legislature is interested in generating from a suite of taxes on the ultra-wealthy (see more below).
The important thing to consider is that all of this federal money is “one-time-only” funding; once it is gone, it's gone. So understanding how to spend it wisely is a chief concern of TCA and many of our colleagues.
(Through our partners at Alliance for Quality Education)
The New York State budget process has reached the final negotiation stage, with the April 1st deadline fast approaching. We are amplifying our message through communications with legislators, Senate and Assembly leadership, and the Governor via calls, emails, social media, and virtual events.
Here’s where we stand on our state budget priorities:
Child Poverty – We continue to seek sponsors and support for the Child Poverty Reduction Act (S.2755/A.1160), introduced by Assemblymember Harry Bronson. If the provisions of this bill are not included in the final NYS budget, we will pursue its passage in the post-budget legislative session, April – June. This legislation would have New York publicly commit to cutting child poverty in half in ten years, with a special focus on racial equity, and require a plan to reach this goal and regular assessment of progress toward the goal.
No child is predestined to live in poverty. And even though the United States is among the richest countries in the world, we consistently rank as having one of the worst child poverty rates among, for instance, the 37 industrialized countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Nearly 11 million children live in poverty in the U.S. today.
There is nothing natural or inevitable about the fact that nearly 1 out of every 2 children (22,000) in Rochester live in poverty, or 1 out of every 5 (32,000) in Monroe County, or 1 out of every 7 in New York State – 712,000 children -- according to 2020 U.S. census data. The pandemic pushed 325,000 more children into poverty in New York State ... (Read More)
Funding for Early Intervention Services means so much for families needing them
Parent looking forward to more in-person Early Intervention Services
"Benjamin was a preemie and started EI services at 8 months. He is now almost 4 and attends a preschool special education program where he receives PT, OT, speech and music therapy. He is making progress and we are grateful for the services he receives. We can't wait to get back to more days in person!"
- Alison Dreher
TCA Supports RCSD Meal Recommendations
HealthiKids Recommendations Would Mean Better Meal Options for RCSD Students
Both HealthiKids and Teen Empowerment have done studies and focus groups over the last decade showing students’ disgust with school meals at the Rochester City School District (RCSD). Recent photos of cold lunches and discolored meat has brought this issue back to the forefront. Now, with over $300M in estimated federal aid coming to RCSD as part of the two most recent COVID-19 relief packages, there is an opportunity to make some changes.
The breakfasts and lunches served at schools are a lifeline for children living with food insecurity. Unfortunately, the maximum possible reimbursement rate for a free school lunch or breakfast is $3.75 and $2.26 respectively (2020-21 school year)[i]. These meager sums are used to cover all costs associated with school meals including the salaries of cooks and cafeteria staff, equipment (e.g. plates, cooking equipment etc.), and food costs. The amount spent on food is less than half the actual reimbursement rate in some school districts. To provide nutritious and flavorful meals with so little money is difficult.
With a small portion of the federal aid coming to RCSD, there could be investments in equipment, procurement, and planning that would have long-term impacts.
Our partners at HealthiKids have some recommendations that The Children’s Agenda fully endorses, including:
Make more meals from scratch
Culturally relevant meal options
Procure more fresh local produce through Farm-to-School initiatives
Invest in salad bars and flavor stations in every school
Work with students and parents to develop meal ideas
Be on the lookout for opportunities to advocate for better meal options for RCSD students in the coming weeks. The Children’s Agenda will continue to work with our partners to improve food access and quality for all of Rochester’s students.
[i] Federal Register. Vol. 85, No. 141, Wednesday, July 22, 2020, Notices. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-07-22/pdf/2020-15764.pdf
Support Asian and Asian-Americans Now
The Levine Center to End Hate is presenting, in partnership with Monroe Community College’s Department of Global Education & International Services, the 2nd and 3rd part of a three-part series exploring the Asian and Asian American communities of Greater Rochester, the history of racism and xenophobia aimed at Asian and Asian Americans in our country, and ways we can work together to support our Asian and Asian American neighbors.
The Brighter Days Foundation - Jen Cathy - Jill Cicero - Dede Duncan-Probe - Richard Kreipe, Partnership for America's Children - Prevent Child Abuse New York - Summerville Presbyterian Church - University of Rochester
The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health disparities and trauma.