2020 has presented the state as well as school districts a set of operational and financial challenges unlike any other faced in the collective memory. While changing operations to shift to remote, and then reopening, all while making every effort to keep as many staff on payroll as possible, districts incurred significant unbudgeted expenses. Area school districts are aware of the state’s significant budget deficit and how that will strain the 2021-22 budget process. However, within available resources the WSWHE Chief School Officers Legislative Committee urges legislators to make every effort to preserve support for public school districts in the coming school year. During the meeting, the committee presented three key priorities
- Fund 2021-22 School Aid to the Greatest Extent Possible
- Ensure that school aid distribution is equitable, considering district ability to pay and student need;
- Fund the Foundation Aid formula to the greatest extent possible;
- Provide a stable baseline aid figure to schools for the 2021-22 school year;
- Fully fund expense based aids.
For more information and detailed descriptions of the 2021 WSWHE Chief School Officers Legislative Priorities, click here.
Ahead of the meeting, Career and Technical Education (CTE) Culinary Arts students from both centers prepared boxes of baked goods which were sent to guests. The occasion gave the CTE students a chance to practice catering skills and follow Serve Safe COVID-19 protocols.
The meeting featured a panel of elementary, middle and high school students from Queensbury, Fort Edward, Schuylerville, and Hartford. The students spoke about the challenges they have faced during the time of COVID. They said there have been pros and cons. Remote learning has made them be very conscious of time management and the need for motivation to do school work. They miss their friends at school, sports, and team projects. The seniors in the group are hopeful for normal graduations.
When asked what advice they would give school leaders and legislators, Eliza Lockwood a senior at Queensbury High School said, “be patient with students. Cheer them up.”
“Support is important. Keep an open mind” suggested Ara-Noelle Ramos a senior at Schuylerville High School.
Assemblyman Rober Smullen said he is concerned about access to broadband. Assemblyman John McDonald complemented the students on their perseverance and said he embraced the legislative agenda.
The meeting highlighted that schools are critically important and students need to be supported on many levels.