LAKE HUNTINGTON —The Sullivan West Central School District is preparing to see a substantial decrease in its state funding through its Foundation Aid, as Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Bressler …
LAKE HUNTINGTON —The Sullivan West Central School District is preparing to see a substantial decrease in its state funding through its Foundation Aid, as Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Bressler said that, before the winter break, the district had received initial aid runs that showed them receiving a zero percent increase in their Foundation Aid.
“In most recent years, state budgets ensured schools received no less aid than was given the year before,” Bressler said. “In fact, some years, they went a step further, providing for some guaranteed minimum percentage increase. We received the minimum three percent increase in the last couple of years. However, the Governor’s [Kathy Hochul] new proposed budget is using a wealth-adjusted formula to determine the amount of funding. Sullivan West is a land-rich school district.”
Bressler said that the school district’s Foundation Aid is projected to go from $11,400,426 last year to $9,451,051 this year. She said that there were some minimal increases to expense-based aid, so the total amount that they are down is $1,874,841, which is about 10 percent of their budgeted state aid.
“This is a significant blow to our budget,” she said. “While the legislature has the final approval, expected by April 1, the reality is that we must prepare for these losses. Overall, we are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.”
As far as how this loss in funding will impact the overall district budget, Bressler said that they are working on that with the Assitant Superintendent for Instructional Services, Lorraine Poston, and the Accounts Supervisor, Claudia Dietz.
“I have spoken to our faculty and staff as well as at the last Board meeting to keep everyone informed,” Bressler said. “We are working on how this impacts our total school budget. When I know that, then we will go forward in creating a budget that adjusts for the loss.”
Bressler said that the biggest concern with this projected loss is the impact it will have on student learning.
“We have a rich education experience that we take pride in, and we’re concerned with how the loss may affect our students,” she noted.
Bressler also spoke about Sullivan West not being the only school that is suffering with these potential losses to funding and that advocates are currently in Albany pushing back.
“We are hoping this pushback is enough to change the Governor’s mind,” Bressler said. “We are talking with other districts in the county suffering losses as well as working together with our state Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther for support and our respective Labor Unions. We are hoping these voices will be heard.”
New Business Manager
Sullivan West Central School District has appointed a new School Business Official, Mrs. Claudia Dietz. Bressler said that she will be starting on July 1.
The Superintendent said that the district hired Dietz a couple of years ago as their Accounts Supervisor with the intent of training under Lorrain Poston and eventually taking on the role when the latter retires.
“This is a very important position to all school districts,” said Bressler. “You need to have a great depth of understanding of the school district itself as well as school finances. We are pleased that she has been getting this on-the-job training with us and happy to have appointed her.”
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