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Parents, Community Asked to Contact Reps Regarding School Aid Cuts

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/29/24 | 2/29/24

By Liz Page

CATSKILL REGION – Developing a school district budget is always a challenge for rural school districts, many times as they wait to see what is in store in the state budget proposal that will affect their budgets.

Local school administrators will tell you it is nothing new to develop a budget without knowing the final state budget figures.

This year, the Governor is proposing to change the formula for Foundation Aid. It is the aid that school districts are heavily reliant on. Stamford Central School Superintendent Dr. Glen Huot is hoping that parents and others will contact their state representatives regarding this change. 

What Huot and other school administrators are concerned about is the loss of the "Hold Harmless" clause which has always guaranteed that no school district would receive less state aid than the year before.

In the case of Stamford Central, that proposed reduction is $834,369, a greater than 18 percent reduction from the current budget. And, according to Huot, SCS is not alone. The 19 school districts in the region stand to lose $9 million in state aid.

There is no reasonable way for schools to make up the huge  reductions in state aid. More than 50 percent of the schools in the state are being impacted by the cuts. The rationale, according to Huot, is the decrease in  enrollment numbers. 

Huot points out that the numbers are declining, however, the need to provide for those students, no matter what the number, has not decreased. You still need the teachers and support staff irregardless of how many students you are serving.

Ironically, he said the Governor provided full state aid funding over the past three years, but is now making devastating cuts and taking away the consistent funding the districts need to be able to plan for the community, district and student's needs in developing their own budgets.

The only way to make up for that decrease in state aid is to make program and staffing cuts, particularly when the 2 percent tax cap remains in effect as healthcare contributions, salaries and retirement contributions increase annually, according to Huot.

"It is important that parents in our community are aware of the Governor's budget proposal and the significant impact it will have on our school. As I shared with faculty and staff, I highly recommend that our community and parents reach out to our legislative representatives to ask for fair funding. I know our faculty and staff as well have reached out to our legislatures. I hope our school community will too on behalf of our school, students and staff."

The state Legislature has until April 1 to agree on a budget, if it is to be adopted on time. School districts must present their budgets to their Board of Education by mid-April. "It is going to be very difficult to get the budget to balance," said Huot.

The Delaware County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution on Wednesday:"Tte loss of education jobs will strain family households and increase unemployment and poverty rates in Delaware County as well as impact the ability of our local school districts to provide an educational platform that supports the New York State Department of Education curriculum as well as hinder both college bound programing and work force ready programming that has proven to provide great success in developing an employable workforce in New York State.
"Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Delaware County Board of Supervisors
opposes Governor Hochul’s proposed budget cuts to Foundation Aid in rural school districts
serving upstate New York and demands the Governor consider the local, regional, and state
impacts associated with the loss of programming in rural school districts that support state
objectives to develop a well-educated and workforce-ready employee base into the future; and
be it further resolved the Clerk of the Board is directed to forward this resolution to Governor Kathy Hochul, Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, Senator Peter
Oberacker, Assemblyman Joe Angelino, Assemblyman Brian Maher, Assemblyman Christopher
Tague, all Delaware County School Superintendents, ONC BOCES and DCMO BOCES.

Assemblyman Chris Tague, 113 Park Place, Suite 6, Schoharie, NY 12157 518-295-7250 taguec@nyassembly.gov https://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/search/

Assemblyman Brian Mahar, LOB 819, Albany, NY 12248 518-455-4807 maherb@nyassembly.gov

Assemblyman Joe Angelino, LOB 549, Albany, NY 12248 518-455-5741 angelinoj@nyassembly.gov

Senator Peter Oberacker, 41, South Main St., Oneonta, NY 13820 607-432-5524 oberacker@nysenate.gov

Lt. Governor Antonio Delgado LGNY@exec.ny.gov 518-402-2292

The Honorable Kathy Hochul, Governor of New YOrk State, NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224 518-474-8390


The difference in Foundation Aid for the 19 districts in the ONC BOCES area.




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