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Cuomo announces after-school funding for Buffalo and other WNY public school districts

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Buffalo Thursday morning to announce funding for the public school district, which is one of a few in Western New York are receiving dollars to expand slots in the Empire State After-School Program.

Earlier this year, New York State put up $35 million dollars and invited eligible school districts to apply for a portion of that money. Seven districts in Western New York were eligible to apply. Four will receive a combined $2.5 million in grants.

Governor Cuomo appeared at Hamlin Park Academy, where it was announced Buffalo Public Schools will receive $1.4 million of those funds to create 885 new after-school slots. He told an audience, made up of elected officials, school administrators and children, that a student's education does not end at 3 p.m.

"We don't want you playing video games. We don't want you hanging around the house. We want you to learn more," Cuomo said. "So we are now funding after-school programs, so it doesn't end at three o'clock. We can provide more services, more help for the mind, for the body to stay in shape, to work through issues, to stay off the streets."

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown opened the presentation by referring to him as the "Good News Governor."

"Every time he is here with us, he has good news for this community," Brown said. "As you know, Governor Cuomo has been a champion for our city and the entire region."

The Niagara Falls School District will receive $464,000 to create 290 new slots. School superintendent Mark Laurrie said his district  is one where many kids are raised by single parents and where the hours immediately after school are the most likely for children to get in trouble. The state grant, he said, will help provide a safe place for more children.

"I think it's got to be a combination of academic programming and social/emotional programming," Laurrie said. "Everything from yoga to cooking classes to functional life skills to, of course, academics."

Dunkirk Public Schools will receive $454,000 to create 284 new slots while the Friendship Public School District in Allegany County will also receive funds.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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