How the state budget will impact local schools in the Southern Tier

SOUTHERN TIER, N.Y. (WETM) – The New York State budget proposal that was released at the beginning of the year is bringing funding cuts to local schools in the Southern Tier.

Each budget proposal runs on what is called a fiscal year. This fiscal year runs from April to April. Schools in New York get money from property taxes and the state budget. Some proposed cuts being north of $1,000,000 for smaller schools in the area beg the question, what’s the plan?

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According to Hammondsport Central School Superintendent Kyle Bower, the Hammondsport school would get hit with a $1.1 million reduction in the proposal.

“First priority is to make [Governor Hochul] aware and our legislators aware of this, you know, $1.1 million reduction in Hammondsport’s revenue would be devastating,” said Bower. “That’s over 20% of our revenue that we get on a yearly basis. No business can survive year to year with a 20% reduction in revenue, let alone with the services we provide to students. We don’t have anything in our budget that doesn’t benefit students and reducing 20% of what we have just based on the governor’s proposal is irresponsible.”

If the budget remains at what is proposed, it would come down to raising property taxes to make up the money or doing what Superintendent of Addison Central School Joe DioGuardi considers the worst-case scenario, cutting staff or programs.

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“Unfortunately, the worst case scenario happens when you can’t raise revenue. You’ll have to make cuts, whether that’s to staff or to programs, to student programs. And no, no district wants to do that. That is absolutely the least popular option, but that is what happens and that is a possibility with some districts this year because of what’s going on,” said DioGuardi.

Many of the schools and superintendents weren’t expecting a reduction for another year, and not one of this magnitude.

“We were anticipating some reduction going into the 25-26 school year, but not for 24-25. We were expecting to be able to operate very similarly to what we’re doing in 23-24,” said Superintendent of Watkins Glen Kai D’Alleva.

A list of all proposed school cuts and their percent decreases can be found at this link.

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