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SCCS Budget Update #3

While progress has been made in securing foundational aid for schools, the finalization of the agreement between the legislature and the governor remains pending. The district extends sincere gratitude to community members who engaged with their local representatives, as it appears these efforts have postponed the elimination of the ‘Hold Harmless’ provision. Your calls and emails have truly made a difference.
Discussions continue at the state level, with the current focus on potentially deferring this challenging decision to the 2025-2026 school year. This delay aims to provide school districts with additional time to prepare for the future loss of state revenue. Looking ahead, there is anticipation of a reduction in state aid, reflecting New York State's shift toward placing more financial responsibility for funding schools on local communities.
The proposed Southern Cayuga School District budget, approved by the board of education on April 17, embodies a balanced approach, drawing on $724,527 from fund balance/savings, implementing the elimination of 11 positions, and instituting a 3% tax increase for the upcoming year. This budgetary plan assumes the restoration of the Hold Harmless provision, guaranteeing that the district will receive no less foundational aid than in the previous year. Additionally, it accommodates for the expiration of federal funding provided through The American Rescue Plan in 2024, which played a crucial role in offering enhanced support for students navigating challenges stemming from the pandemic. Furthermore, grant funding facilitated the addition of 10 instructional support positions over the past three years, with staffing levels for the upcoming year anticipated to be slightly lower than pre-COVID levels.
The budget proposal also takes into consideration significant cost drivers, including contractual labor, special education tuitions, electricity costs, and healthcare cost increases. Despite the impact of inflation, we project a slight increase (.35%) from last year’s budget as efforts are made to mitigate costs. The district will leverage its fund balance to cover the increase of foundation aid typically received.
Once again, thank you for engaging with our local legislators; your advocacy has undoubtedly made a difference. The SCCS Budget Hearing is scheduled for May 13 at 6 pm at the high school.
Patrick Jensen
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Patrick Jensen, Superintendent
2384 State Route 34B
Aurora, NY 13026