Farmingdale, NY – With asthma affecting approximately 364,000 children in New York State, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined by Long Island parents, school officials and medical professionals today announced that $1.65 billion in federal aid is now available for school districts to develop policies and procedures and implement training to respond to and help prevent students’ asthma attacks as well as other local priorities for schools throughout the country, including approximately $125 million for New York schools. The funding is part of Senator Gillibrand’s School Asthma Management Plan Act and was included in the national education bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama.
According to the New York State Department of Health over 56,400 Long Island children suffer from asthma. Nearly 1,300 were hospitalized overnight for their asthma in 2014.
“With so many children in New York hospitalized every year for asthma attacks, I’m pleased to announce that our local school districts now have access to this federal grant funding to develop, implement, and evaluate school asthma management plans.” said Senator Gillibrand, “With nearly 1 in 11 children in our state and 1 in 12 children across the country now suffering from asthma, we have to make sure our schools have the resources to prepare for and prevent asthma attacks. Over a quarter of a million New York children have this chronic disease, so the place where they spend so much of their time – our schools – must be ready and this funding will help make sure schools have the resources to meet our students’ needs.”
“It’s important to make sure students are in a safe and healthy learning environment. I’m looking forward to seeing these management plans implemented in our school districts so students have the resources to stay healthy and focused in the classroom,” said Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R).
“Senator Gillibrand’s School Asthma Management Plan perfectly aligns with the Asthma Coalition of Long Island’s overarching goal which is to support every child who has asthma learn the self-management skills needed to stay in school and perform optimally,” said Anne Little, Director of the Asthma Coalition of Long Island. ”Senator Gillibrand’s plan is especially welcome here on Long Island where almost three children in every classroom suffer from the chronic condition.”
“The authorization of Senator Gillibrand’s School Asthma Management Plan Act comes at a pivotal time for New York State, with the restructuring of our healthcare delivery system focused on reducing avoidable hospital use,” said Monica Caravella, nursing professor at Farmingdale State College. “Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization for children, and grant monies to high-needs public school districts will greatly enhance coordinated efforts that have been established by Farmingdale State College and the Asthma Coalition of Long Island. We are thrilled to be part of this ground-breaking legislation. Thank you Senator Gillibrand for your foresight.”
“Our nursing faculty and students have provided a high level of community outreach and service for many years, which is consistent with our mission as a regional service institution,” said Farmingdale State College President Hubert Keen. “The work done by Professor Monica Caravella to assist our schools in implementing emergency asthma management is critical not only to the health of our young people but to peace of mind for their parents.”
The national education bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act, authorized funding for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program at $1.65 billion in Fiscal Year 2017 and $1.60 billion in each of Fiscal Years 2018 through 2020. All states and most school districts in the country will be eligible to receive grant funding through this program and will be able to target funds to meet their unique needs. The proportion of funding allocated to individual school districts will vary based on school districts’ share of low-income students.
Senator Gillibrand pushed for language to specifically allow school districts to use federal block grant funding under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program of the Every Student Succeeds Act to develop, implement, and evaluate school asthma management plans.
Senator Gillibrand pushed for the inclusion of this provision based on her School Asthma Management Plan Act, legislation to ensure schools are equipped to respond to asthma attacks and are working to help prevent them from happening.
Senator Gillibrand has also pushed to incorporate student health measures into major legislation before Congress this year. As a part of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization, Gillibrand is fighting to protect fruit and vegetable serving standards to ensure school meals are nutritious. She was also successful in adding a provision to the national education bill based on her FIT Kids Act to help schools expand and improve physical fitness and education programs.