December 8, 2020
Dear Community Members:
I wanted to update you on the current financial challenges facing the district. As you probably know by now, Governor Cuomo announced over the summer, after school budgets had been passed, that school districts could see a reduction in state aid up to 20%. We saw that occur in our first few aid payments this year. The Governor then began to mince his words and leave districts hanging with language technicalities and unspecific direction. It is my belief he too is waiting for a federal relief package to help NYS with its financial woes which began prior to the COVID shut down and like all things, was exacerbated by the pandemic.
For Wayland-Cohocton, whose budget is heavily dependent on state aid allocations, a 20% cut in aid is about $4.2 million in lost revenue. During its meetings the Board of Education has been gathering information focused on short-term and long-term views of the impact of this loss and how to address it. The administrative team and business office have been putting together figures on costs in the district in categories in order for the board to prioritize the programs and expenses. Aid cuts to the district since July already total $650,000 dollars.
While we hold our breath waiting to hear if there will be relief, we must forge ahead to have a plan in place to close that gap created by the loss of aid. For our district a loss of $4.2 million means drastic cuts to programs and personnel in the district. It means looking at programs that are not required such as athletics, electives, special developmental programming, in-house academies, advanced courses and extracurricular activities will all be considered for cuts. Class size will be impacted and certain extras like field trips will be affected. This process is further complicated by COVID mandates imposed on Districts.
Everywhere in the community we see the impact of the pandemic and our troubled economic times in NYS, much of which was already a reality before COVID hit. Our community families are pinching their own pennies as heating season comes upon us and there continues to be increased unemployment. Food pantries and social service programs are strapped and the supply chain of services and goods show signs of stress.
These are tough times for everyone. We know how hard families are working to support their children’s learning at home and all of the struggles that come with hybrid and remote learning. However, we need to ask for your help in this fight. We need to ask our community to advocate with elected state officials to rectify the funding cuts that will impact our schools. We need to ask our federal officials to advocate for relief aid to New York State to alleviate the cracks we were seeing since January of last year.
The school has created an advocacy page on its website where you can access addresses, phone numbers and form letters to contact your representatives in an effort to fix this funding problem. It's our school and our children that will ultimately feel the pinch of this crisis. We need to work together to protect them and give them the opportunities to have a bright future.
I encourage you to contact us for additional information or check out the school website advocacy page (click here) for assistance in reaching out to your representatives. If you need additional help contacting your representatives or drafting a letter, please contact Melonie Coley at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling at (585) 728-2211 ext 3070. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by phone at (585) 213-4303 or by email at email@example.com.
We will continue to update you regularly on financial developments in the district. I also encourage you to attend the Board of Education meetings, the next of which is December 14 at 6 p.m. in the LGI. (social distancing and mask wearing is necessary).
Superintendent of Schools