There's wasteful spending and then there's whatever New York State just did this week.

On Thursday, Governor Hochul proudly announced $38 million in funding to some of the richest organizations in the state. The money is being granted to private colleges and universities to purchase equipment, make renovations or fund construction projects.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that these private colleges are improving their facilities, but these already well-funded schools do not need taxpayer money that could be better spent funding schools in rough shape. And when I say they don't need the money, it's because these schools are richer than many corporations that operate in New York State.

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Bard College doesn't need $50,000 for new speakers

A list of grant recipients includes Bard College, which is located right here in the Hudson Valley. The school in Annandale-on-Hudson is one of the most expensive schools in the country to attend. Tuition with room and board costs just short of $85,000 a year. On top of that, Bard has endowments of over $1.5 billion. To be clear, that's money that never gets spent. Instead, it's invested in order to generate a never-ending fortune in income. Anyone with a 401k knows that even the most conservative investments generate an average of 5% every year. That's an annual income of $75 million without ever having to touch the $1.5 billion the college already has in the bank.

So why is New York giving Bard $50,000 to purchase "equipment for the Bito Conservatory Performance Space"? $50,000 is pocket change for Bard but could be life-changing for students in the Poughkeepsie School District. That amount of money could purchase new computers, air conditioning, school supplies, books for the library, upgrade the lunchroom kitchen and a long list of much-needed renovations. Instead, it's going to an obnoxiously rich "non-profit" institution that charges students a ridiculous tuition to attend while already having more money in the bank than they know what to do with.

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Why are we granting private New York colleges tens of millions of dollars?

According to Hochul, the reason for the grants is to help colleges fund projects that create construction jobs and help benefit the community. While these schools are required to spend $3 for every $1 granted to them, I find it hard to believe that these rich organizations wouldn't be able to upgrade their campuses if New York didn't pitch in to pay part of the bill.

The projects included in the $38 million in grants will make your stomach turn. They include $2 million towards new air conditioning at Barnard College ($82,000 tuition), $1.5 million in electrical work at the Rochester Institute of Technology ($1.3 billion endowment) and $3 million for a new basketball practice facility at St. John's University (The athletics program alone generates over $40 million in revenue a year).

It's disheartening to see students in public schools have to miss out on field trips, playing in the orchestra or learning the latest technology because they simply don't have the money to do it. Meanwhile, wealthy private schools with exorbitant tuitions sit back and collect taxpayer money for projects they can certainly fund themselves.

It's insulting to the millions of New Yorkers who will never benefit from any of these projects

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