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Proposed budget cuts hit home for smaller school districts

todayJanuary 25, 2024 1

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed 2024-25 New York State Executive Budget would cut more than $400 million in promised public school aid, according to the State teachers union.

Governor Hochul’s budget would slash Foundation Aid—the main source of state funding for public schools—by hundreds of millions of dollars. According to the New York State United Teachers Union, the move will hit small and rural districts the hardest.

Howard Dennis, Superintendent of Schools Penn Yan says, “That came as quite a shock to us. Devastating shock to be honest with you as we continue to pour through those numbers and try to get a feel for what that means for Penn Yan. That that will have a devastating impact on the programs and services that we’re able to offer our students.”

Dennis tells News 8 that these cuts would mean his school district will lose around $2.5 million dollars which is approximately an 18% reduction from the current budget. In context—according to NYSUT data—Rochester will lose just under $1.4 million which is a 0.2% reduction in aid.    

“Obviously anything that’s not mandated is going to be up for grabs right? So, over the last few years, we’ve been asked to take on a larger and larger role with social emotional needs for families and students and we’ve added positions to do that—social workers and counselors,” says Dennis.     

Part of these cuts come from the removal of the “save harmless” policy which ensures school districts get as much aid as the previous year. With inflation, Dennis says those funds aren’t enough to begin with.  

Dennis continues, “It’s not a sustainable piece for Penn Yan and it’s not fair and equitable for our students to have to give up what they would have to give up in this scenario.”

Dennis fears this is merely the first of future cuts if the precedent of removing the “save harmless” number is set.

NYSUT agrees the Foundation Aid formula should change but believes these changes were not properly thought out. According to NYSUT data, Rochester will lose over $22 million.

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed 2024-25 New York State Executive Budget would cut more than $400 million in promised public school aid, according to the State teachers union.

Governor Hochul’s budget would slash Foundation Aid—the main source of state funding for public schools—by hundreds of millions of dollars. According to the New York State United Teachers Union, the move will hit small and rural districts the hardest.

Howard Dennis, Superintendent of Schools Penn Yan says, “That came as quite a shock to us. Devastating shock to be honest with you as we continue to pour through those numbers and try to get a feel for what that means for Penn Yan. That that will have a devastating impact on the programs and services that we’re able to offer our students.”

Dennis tells News 8 that these cuts would mean his school district will lose around $2.5 million dollars which is approximately an 18% reduction from the current budget. In context—according to NYSUT data—Rochester will lose just under $1.4 million which is a 0.2% reduction in aid.    

“Obviously anything that’s not mandated is going to be up for grabs right? So, over the last few years, we’ve been asked to take on a larger and larger role with social emotional needs for families and students and we’ve added positions to do that—social workers and counselors,” says Dennis.     

Part of these cuts come from the removal of the “save harmless” policy which ensures school districts get as much aid as the previous year. With inflation, Dennis says those funds aren’t enough to begin with.  

Dennis continues, “It’s not a sustainable piece for Penn Yan and it’s not fair and equitable for our students to have to give up what they would have to give up in this scenario.”

Dennis fears this is merely the first of future cuts if the precedent of removing the “save harmless” number is set.

NYSUT agrees the Foundation Aid formula should change but believes these changes were not properly thought out. According to NYSUT data, Rochester will lose over $22 million. Read More EducationRochesterFirst  

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