ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Superintendents around Monroe County are reacting to new plans and goals laid out by Governor Kathy Hochul in her state of the state address. Particularly with funding to support mental health for students and changes in the foundation aid formula for districts in need.  

When coming out of virtual learning from the pandemic, Superintendents noticed students needed more counseling resources and help from falling behind in curriculum standards. After hearing Governor Hochul’s state of the state address, district leaders in Monroe County are hopeful.  

Since assuming the role as President of the Monroe County Council of Superintendents, Casey Kosiorek of the Hilton School District noticed more funding is needed to focus on students getting mental health support, but funds are needed to fill those roles.  

“What we learned during the pandemic and funding is that there’s funding available to implement programs,” Superintendent Kosiorek said. “But there weren’t necessarily people in the workforce to then provide those services. Now we need to make sure we have the people and programs in place to receive that funding.”  

In the classroom, Governor Hochul announced she’s dedicating $250 million to school districts to establish tutoring programs to help students catch up in reading and math. Reports from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that in 2022, fourth graders in New York scored below the national average in both subjects.  

“There is a teacher shortage right now, so funding for extra tutoring is great because we need more teachers so that we can hire them to be tutors,” Superintendent Kosiorek continued. “And we can also take a look at extending tutoring with our current staff as well with additional funding.”  

In efforts to move New York State closer to Universal Pre-K, Hochul’s administration is adding another $125 million to expand high-quality and full-day prekindergarten classes. Superintendent Kosiorek believes the focus should be on transportation for them.  

“Is that an additional bus run and there are different safety expectations four-year old’s on a bus or in a car than there are for five-year old’s,” Superintendent Kosiorek added. “That involves car seats. I think the biggest thing is making sure that we can provide the opportunity for anyone who is interested in it. Making it truly universal.”  

All these factors revolve around the state’s foundation aid formula being fully funded which some rural school districts say was leaving their budgets short of meeting expectations for all students. We’ll have more reactions from other superintendents on those changes coming up at 11:00 p.m.