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SCCS Budget Update #2

Southern Cayuga CSD is gearing up for the conclusion of federal grant funding that has been crucial in providing enhanced support for students facing challenges following the pandemic. The American Rescue Plan allocated funding through the ESSER 3 grants for a three-year span from 2021 to 2024. With the end of this funding, the positions tied to this support, which include additional reading, math, and English Language Learner (ELL) support, as well as smaller class sizes in kindergarten and first grade, will cease. In total, 9.6 positions will be lost as a result of the conclusion of the grant funding. 

As reductions in grant-funded positions were anticipated, the additional loss of state foundation aid will result in further staff reductions.  On January 16, 2024, Governor Hochul introduced a state budget proposal that includes cutting foundation aid to over 300 school districts throughout New York State. This proposal from the Governor entails a substantial 30% reduction for Southern Cayuga CSD, totaling $2.2 million over the course of two years. 

Southern Cayuga CSD is actively exploring various options to address the anticipated revenue gap. These options include further reductions in staffing/programming cuts ($640,000), utilizing a substantial portion of the fund balance, and a larger increase to the tax levy than has been seen in 15 years. 

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. 
Following my previous budget email to parents and guardians, several folks reached out to me and asked for talking points so they can contact their local government representatives.    
  • The end of federal grant funding and the loss of foundation aid in the same year is devastating.  The grant job loss will be 9.6 teaching positions, while the loss of foundation aid will result in an additional $640,000 in staff, teaching, and administrative reductions. 
  • The loss of foundation aid will result in the loss of support services for struggling students, specifically reading, math, ELL, and special education supports.     
  • School districts were notified only two months ago of the elimination of Hold Harmless and the loss of 30% of their foundation aid over the next two years.  The use of fund balance/reserves is not sustainable for Southern Cayuga and will be exhausted within two years.  
  • The loss of grant funding coupled with less foundation aid will eliminate after school enrichment programming at Southern Cayuga.  Options for programming are limited within rural communities and our students have benefited greatly from each opportunity.
  • The loss of foundation aid will dramatically shift the cost of public education from the state to many local communities within two years. 
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.

Thank You,
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
Governor Kathy Hochul -
NYS State Capitol Building, Albany NY 12224                      518-474-8390
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Patrick Jensen, Superintendent
2384 State Route 34B
Aurora, NY 13026