Several school districts in the Central New York region are facing tough decision for the 2019 - 2020 budget year. Rome City School District put out a potential budget this week that's not an easy sell to parents or taxpayers in the district.
A large part of the problem is that districts are unclear at this point about the amount of foundation aid the districts will get as part of the state budget. The deadline for the state budget is April 1.
Local lawmakers are in Albany this week for budget negotiations.
The Alliance for Quality Education released a statement concerning foundation aid in the state budget saying, "Right now one of the major sticking points in the New York State budget is whether to fully fund the Foundation Aid formula which is designed to address these inequities. The AQE analysis shows that the needs of students in the underfunded districts could be addressed by fully funding Foundation Aid."
Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, (D) - 119th District took the time to release this statement, "As budget negotiations continue, ensuring our students get the support and resources they need to thrive in the classroom remains one of my top priorities. The Assembly's proposal provides a total of $18.9 billion in Foundation Aid, which marks an increase of $1.16 billion over last year's funding level. I'll continue working with my Assembly colleagues, as well as our partners in the state Senate to ensure that all school districts receive the funding they need to educate the next generation of leaders."
We reached out to other lawmakers are are awaiting a response.
Rome's proposed school budget cuts unmandated programs at the school, which means cuts to modified sports, cuts to the three-year-old pre-K program, cuts to AIS in elementary schools. There are many other programs on the chopping block.
Superintendent Peter Blake joined us for NEWSChannel2 at Sunrise Thursday morning. Blake said, "Our revenue is decreasing for next year and is mostly attributed to the foundation aid provided not keeping up with the foundation aid owed. Our percentage of foundation aid paid is declining year over year from 87% funded a few years ago to 79% funded for next year."
"That's caused a significant decrease in our overall revenues, and revenue is our issue. We are looking at about $10 million in reductions as well as a 3.96% tax increase on the community."
The largest propsed cuts include staff reduction and restructuring the AIS programming in elementary schools.
"Pretty much anything that is a non-mandated program right now is being looked at as being reduced, outside of Kindergarten, which is going to remain and Pre-K 4. Everything else is looking to be reduced if something doesn't change in Albany in the next few days."
Blake said, "Senator Joe Griffo and Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon are working hard for all of us down there but the foundation aid is significantly impacting Rome this year."