ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)--As New York School districts prepare to come back for the school year, they are met with more than $100 million available state funding for pandemic learning loss programs and mental health supports. 

“Being cut off from their teachers and their friends and their activities and their support system had a long-term effect. It was not just short term in that moment, it still is with them today,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

Of these state dollars, $100 million is intended for the recover from COVID school program and $8.3 million is intended to expand school based mental health clinics. 

Some New York State lawmakers said while the thousands of school districts in the state will compete for this funding, it will have a positive impact for students. 

“If the schools can find the eligible funding, qualify for these grants, and then be able to hire the staff that’s going to be needed to do this and that’s asking a lot in both of those right there. But I think it will be very beneficial,” said Senator Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats). 

Other New York State lawmakers agreed. Sen. Lea Webb (D-52nd Senate District) said the issue of learning loss and mental health are issues important to school districts across the state. 

"This is a great opportunity to help our educators with some resources around both helping to expand support in terms of personnel, supplies and also expand to mental health in our schools," Sen. Webb said. 

Jay Worona, deputy executive director with the New York State School Boards Association, said this funding will provide students with more support. 

“To me this is a recognition by the state that on behalf of the children of our state who are our students and our most precious commodity, that we need help, we need assistance in making sure that they are made whole particularly with the adversities that they faced after COVID,” Worona said. 

Stacey Saglibene, District Superintendent for the Southern Tier, stated in an email to Erie News Now mental health support for students is a top priority and she is hopeful this funding will increase access for students in the region. 

The state money will be awarded over the next two years. School districts and the Board of Cooperative Educational Services can apply individually or as a group. 

Gov. Hochul said high need districts will get priority. 

Applications for the recover from COVID school program can be found on the New York State Department of Education's websiteThe deadline for this application, originally set for Aug. 18, was extended to Sep. 1 at 5 p.m.

Applications for mental health clinics can be found on the New York State Department of Mental Health's website. The deadline is Oct. 5 at 1 p.m.