In the last 3 years, the Orange County Legislature has increased funding to SUNY Orange by over $600M
NY state needs to reinvest in our schools. In the 1970s, NY state funding to our colleges was around 36%, today it is between 18-22%. This reduction in state funds has correlated with decline in college enrollment across the state. This has resulted in higher taxes, higher tuition and immense cuts to our schools.
The burden has fallen on the students and tax payers that are already being crippled by rising healthcare costs and amongst the highest taxes in the county. We are paying more for school each year, but sadly, students are receiving less. Our schools should not have to choose between cutting more programs or having less teachers. And students that are already facing the highest debt of any generation, should not be taking on more debt. Nevertheless, I am proud to have been a part of the increases in our SUNY Orange budget.
When I ran for Legislator, my goal was to raise the budget SUNY Orange, so they can provide more programs at the Newburgh campus. I advocated for the Innovation Grand Street project, which would have converted the three county owned buildings on Grand street (Former Masonic lodge, former YMCA and former American Legion Building). This project would have brought much needed workforce development the City of Newburgh and would have helped us prepare students for a wider array of programs, primarily public health jobs that are in high demand, trade jobs and hospitality.
My View in the Times Herald Record
Innovation Grand Street in the News
While the Innovation Grand Street project was ultimately defeated by the Republican majority in the legislature, SUNY Orange remains committed to doing workforce development in Newburgh and across Orange County. And the future Hotel Resort which was selected in the place of the Innovation Grand Street project, will include a strong educational component to help students get first hand experience in hospitality and culinary. I am proud to have been the most vocal supporter of this initiative and I am excited about the work SUNY Orange is doing to find other ways to incorporate workforce development in other locations in Newburgh, with local partners.
Improving Student Engagement, Retention and Increasing Graduation Rates