HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all of the amazing mothers and wives who keep the world going every day!
Last week we found out that schools in NY State would be closed for the remainder of the year. To me, that news was traumatic, upsetting and unsettling and even though many folks believed that it was going to be the outcome, hearing the news was tough to process. Not being able to close out the school year with our students, colleagues and families will be very difficult. My heart is heavy for all of our seniors and the rites of passage they are missing. It has been particularly difficult in my own family to process because we have two seniors that are missing out; one in college and one in high school. As a parent, I struggle to provide some sense of understanding for everything that is happening.
Even if you don’t have a senior, I want you to know that as a district, we also recognize the stressors and the toll that this situation is taking on everyone. This will be a defining moment in history. One thing that has not changed is our commitment to helping you in any way that we can, so I encourage you to continue to reach out and ask when the need arises. Despite all of the drawbacks, I firmly believe that there is good out there if we look for it. We are working hard everyday to ensure that the Eagles come back stronger than ever. We will continue with food distribution at least until the end of the school year. Please know that our food service workers are now including perishable items in the meals, so please do not leave them unrefrigerated. To date we have distributed 35,286 meals.
I, like many of you, am tired of the restrictions, limitations and protocols that we must follow, but please know that we are still required to follow the executive orders from the Governor, whether we like them or not. The Governor continues to stipulate that there cannot be any non-essential gatherings. As much as I don’t like it, I know that it is for the welfare and benefit of the greater good. We will open up things as soon as we can. To the parents of our seniors, we are continuing to study all of the options to celebrate our young adults. Thank you to those who completed the ThoughtExchange, we have spent considerable time going through the information and will certainly let you know what the plans are when they are finalized. We are hoping that the Governor and the Departments of Health will ease up on some of the restrictions that are in place.
With the closure of school, many have wondered about the supplies and personal belongings that remain in the school building. I assure you that we are working on a plan for you to retrieve all of those items. Because we closed in March, there will be school supplies that were not used, that you can take home. In addition to that, we also acknowledge the financial hardship that this has created for many and will be purchasing any supplies that may be needed above and beyond what you will have now in the upcoming school year. Therefore, there will not be any school supply lists sent home to families over the summer. We will make sure that all students have everything that they need for their return in September. Hopefully, knowing this now will allow you to use the money that you would have spent on supplies on other expenses.
In reference to our school budget, another executive order stipulates that our school budget vote will be on June 9th using absentee ballots. The current economy in the state of NY, and around the country, has certainly made this year's budget development difficult. The Governor and the NYS Division of Budget have indicated that schools and other publicly funded institutions should prepare for cuts of up to 20% of our state aid. For Wayland-Cohocton this could have significant negative consequences. Despite these numbers, I do believe that we have been fiscally responsible while keeping the best interest of our students in mind. We will be sending out our district budget newsletter in a couple of weeks that will outline our budget in detail. Certainly if you have any questions please contact me.
If you have not heard yet, WCCS has launched a new mobile app that helps students, parents and community members know what is happening right from their phones. We know that families are using smartphones as a primary means to communicate and that’s why we created this app. You can download the app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play… just type in WCCS Schools.
In closing, I want to acknowledge how incredibly resilient our community has been. No one could have ever imagined that we would be in this scenario, and there is no other community that I would like to call home. I am also incredibly impressed by the work that our school community has done. With little to no time for preparation, we have provided food, chromebooks, crisis support and distance learning for 1300 students now for eight weeks and counting. As an administrator, community member and parent, I say THANK YOU!
Eileen M. Feinman
Superintendent of Schools