ALBANY, NY (WSKG) – Schools across New York are struggling to cope with mandatory closures, distance learning and uncertain funding. Even though schools are set to receive the same amount of state aid they got last year, New York State School Board’s David Albert says they should brace for cut backs.
Albert says while the recently approved state budget keeps school funding even with last year’s allocation, it’s uncertain whether that money will still be available by the time school will presumably start again next September. Governor Cuomo has powers to revise the budget downward if revenues continue to plummet.
Albert, speaking via Skype, predicts some teachers and other school staff will lose their jobs.
“I do think we will see lay offs,” Albert said.
Albert says another option is for schools to renegotiate their contracts with teachers, and perhaps delay planned raises. He says he sees one sign of hope- the federal bail out plan includes $1.1 billion dollars for school districts across the state, which he says will go a ways toward stabilizing districts’ finances.
One of the many things that are on hold during the COVID 19 pandemic is school budget and school board member votes, which were scheduled for the third week in May. Albert says the votes have been post poned until at least June 1, and he says schools are awaiting word from Governor Cuomo for a new date.
“We just don’t know,” Albert said. “That’s one of those areas where there’s a great deal of uncertainty.”
Albert says amid the gloom, there’s a glimmer of good news. He says schools are finding out just how important they are to their regions.
“They really are woven into the fabric of their communities,” said Albert.
He says districts are doing much more than teaching students, they are arranging for child care, meals and bus services.
“It’s one of the few bright spots that has come out of this experience,” he said.