As the father of two public school-educated teenage sons and the husband of a public school nurse, Mark Gjonaj knows firsthand who is hurt the most by overcrowded classrooms and undercut schools. All Bronx sons and daughters deserve better, and Mark is fighting to ensure they receive the most from their education.
This spring Mark lobbied and voted for the current $153 billion state budget — a budget in which one in every six dollars is earmarked for public education — reaffirming his unrelenting commitment to the success of New York children.
This year’s budget eliminates barriers so every student can get an education that helps to shape their future. The budget includes a $50 million increase in Community Schools aid, allowing schools to be converted into community schools that deliver valuable services to both students and families, including critical support to at-risk children. This budget will also work to protect public libraries, an essential part of our neighborhoods, by allocating additional funding to ensure they continue providing services and resources to residents.
Mark also knows what it means for a family to take on the expense of a child’s continuing education. The Excelsior Scholarship Program is a groundbreaking initiative that allows New Yorkers to attend City University of New York (CUNY) and State University of New York (SUNY) tuition-free for families earning up to $125,000 annually, making college more manageable for the middle class.
As your New York City councilman, Mark will continue working with his colleagues in Albany to guarantee that SUNY and CUNY receive the necessary funding to allow aspiring Bronxites an affordable path to a better future. The students from working and middle-class families will be able to achieve their career goals without the extreme financial burden many graduates feel today.