State budget change could impact local school districts

Jan 31, 2024 at 12:55 pm by Observer-Review

penn yan school
NEW YORK STATE--Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C-Corning) joined Assembly Republican colleagues to voice opposition to the proposed reduction in funding for some New York schools made by Gov. Kathy Hochul in her executive budget proposal. The governor has proposed ending ‘Hold Harmless,’ a policy that ensures school districts don’t see a reduction in their education foundation aid compared to the previous year. Under Gov. Hochul’s plan, more than half of the school districts located within the 132nd assembly district will see a foundation aid reduction.
“Many school districts throughout the state, including those in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, rely on state aid to fulfill state-mandated educational requirements,” said Palmesano. “We know salary, health insurance and pension payment costs continue to rise year over year. We also know that our schools, and especially our kids, are still trying to recover from the COVID lockdowns and remote learning experiment. This, coupled with other issues, has helped contribute to the growing mental health challenges our kids are experiencing in our local schools and communities. The governor knows this and she knows this is certainly not the time to cut critical education funding for our kids and school districts, especially our upstate, rural schools. It is a shame Gov. Hochul is proposing to hold their education hostage so she can divert resources to her other priorities.”
In a letter to the school community, Penn Yan Superintendent Howard Dennis said this change has the potential to impact Penn Yan Central School district to the tune of $2.5 million. Although after a review the number may be slightly less, the aid cut represents a 15 percent reduction as it stands.
Dennis added the school has already reached out to local legislators and will monitor the negotiations happening in Albany ahead of the budget adoption.
Palmesano also mentioned, “I urge my colleagues in the Legislature to reject yet another misplaced priority from this governor and restore this critical funding to our local schools during the budget process.”
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