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State Budget Proposal 2024

On January 16, 2024, Governor Hochul put forth a state budget proposal that includes a reduction in foundation aid to over 300 school districts, mainly small rural districts, across New York State. This proposal by the governor translates to a significant 30% cut for Southern Cayuga CSD, amounting to $2.2 million over the span of two years. 
In 2023-2024, Southern Cayuga CSD received $7,264,241 in foundation aid. However, the governor's proposed budget for the next year suggests a reduction to $6,171,953. This first year budgetary adjustment is driven by the introduction of a new state aid formula and the elimination of the 'hold harmless' provision. Previously, this provision guaranteed that all school districts would receive no less than the amount of aid they received in the previous year. Its elimination poses challenges to long-term financial planning strategies for the district.
The concerns are further compounded by the cessation of federal COVID grants in the summer of 2024. The ESSER 3 Grant funding facilitated the establishment of ten additional positions dedicated to delivering direct services to students for a three-year period. This funding primarily bolstered support for our youngest learners in the elementary school through initiatives such as smaller class size and additional personnel focused on math and reading skills, aimed at helping students overcome the impact of learning loss. While reductions in grant-funded positions were anticipated, the additional 15% reduction in foundation aid marks a significant departure for the state from past practice.
If the governor’s proposed reduction comes to fruition, further substantial changes to the current level of programming will occur including loss of staff and programming.  Local legislators have voiced their opposition to the governor’s proposed cuts and are mobilizing efforts to address the loss of foundation aid. The Governor’s proposed budget is in the hands of state legislators who appear amenable to restoring this critical aid to rural school districts and lessening the impact on students and staff.  Advocacy for schools needs to start now as the state budget is approved on or shortly after the first of April. 
It's prudent to consider reaching out to our local representatives through calls or emails to advocate for our students’ needs. The loss of both state aid and grant funds within the same fiscal year will have devastating consequences unless the New York State Senate and Assembly provide some form of relief.  Below are the names of our local officials and a link to their contact information.

Patrick Jensen

Local Officials Contact Information
State Senator Rachel May
333 E. Washington St., Suite 805, Syracuse NY 13202           315-478-8745

Assembly Member Jeff Gallahan -
70 Elisabeth Blackwell St., Geneva, NY 14456                        315-781-2023
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Patrick Jensen, Superintendent
2384 State Route 34B
Aurora, NY 13026