One day after the state Legislature approved the 2019-20 budget that cut funding for Special Olympics New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office announced that the aid will be restored.
In a statement, Cuomo's office said the $50,000 cut will be restored "using state resources." The budget contains $8.7 million for programs and services that assist individuals with developmental disabilities.
The state budget reduced funding for Special Olympics New York's Unified Champion Schools program. The initiative encourages schools to provide athletic and leadership opportunities that are inclusive.
Past budgets have included $200,000 in aid for Unified Champion Schools. The new state budget provided $150,000 for the program.
The state also provides $1.1 million to support Special Olympics New York. That's separate from the funding for the Unified Champion Schools program.
"Special Olympics New York is thankful to the governor for fully funding the state's annual $1.1 million commitment, and restoring the $50,000 for the Unified Champion Schools program," said Stacey Hengsterman, president and CEO of Special Olympics New York. "Special Olympics New York is grateful to the governor for his generous support during a difficult budget year."
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The $50,000 reduction received attention after President Donald Trump proposed slashing nearly $18 million from the federal budget to support the national Special Olympics organization.
The Special Olympics has received $17.6 million in aid from the Department of Education, but Trump's budget would have eliminated that revenue stream. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos initially defended the cuts by explaining that the Special Olympics receives millions more in private donations.
After backlash from Democratic and Republican lawmakers, Trump reversed his position. He pledged to restore the funding in his budget proposal.
Special Olympics New York was established in 1969 and has a presence in nine regions across the state. As of last year, 62,773 individuals with intellectual disabilities participate in the program. There are 5,900 athletic competitions each year, with 23 Olympic-style sports.
There are 5,717 coaches and more than 36,000 volunteers across the state, according to Special Olympics New York.