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Senate gives $1.5M to union’s community schools program

New York Teacher
Discussing the funding for the union’s Community Learning Schools.
Miller Photography

State Sen. Jeffrey Klein, flanked by UFT President Michael Mulgrew and Vice President Karen Alford, discusses the funding for the union’s Community Learning Schools.

State Sen. Jeffrey Klein kept a promise he made to UFT members on the union’s Lobby Day in March, announcing on May 8 that the union’s Community Learning Schools would receive $1.5 million in state funding.

UFT President Michael Mulgrew, who joined Klein at a press conference in lower Manhattan, cited the Senate co-leader for “his early vision and strong support of community schools” and thanked him for his latest efforts on behalf of the thousands of children who will benefit from the award secured by the state Senate in the 2014–15 budget.

“We’re excited to see this level of support for the future expansion of our programs,” said Charlene Corbett of PS 335/MS 584 in Brooklyn, speaking for the resource coordinators from the Community Learning Schools in all five boroughs who were on hand for the announcement.

The guiding hand of the initiative, UFT Vice President Karen Alford, added, “Public schools belong to the community. We listen to their voice. They tell us what their children and families need to grow.”

In September, the state Senate awarded $700,000 to help fund the growing number of schools in the union’s community program.

Mulgrew noted the army of doubters who questioned the initiative when it began with six schools two years ago. Today there are 16 schools with 200 more applying to be part of the initiative. Mulgrew said the initiative transforms traditional schools into community “hubs” through the collaboration of educators, administrators, parents, and local nonprofit agencies that provide health services.

Klein credited Mulgrew for doing the hard work to bring about the long-overdue and innovative concept of Community Learning Schools.

“These schools truly are schools for the 21st century, recognizing that the health and wellness of our students is as vital to their learning experience as educational programs,” Klein said.