“Hopefully there’ll be a mix of investments in immediate issues students are facing …. and then down payments and investments on other things,” he said. “You can’t spend $287 million without having staffing, but you can at least balance it so state revenues will be able to support that level of staffing later on.”
Districts looking for guidance
Districts are awaiting word from the state on exactly how much money they’ll get, how they can use it and how long they have to do so.
For example, Cechnicki said he hoped the state would allow districts to spend the money over two years rather than just one.
There is also the question of whether the state will intercept the federal funding to partially offset its own contribution. Districts grumbled and progressive advocates howled when Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled a “pandemic adjustment” last year.
Separate funds for state and municipal governments, though, have partly filled the projected hole in the rest of the state budget, meaning there is less need to lessen education spending to plug it.
Myers-Small initially was planning to present her budget proposal on March 16, but it likely will be postponed until there is more clarity around the stimulus funding. At a board meeting on Thursday she said the 2021-22 budget likely will include more layoffs.
“Given the fact we do have declining enrollment – we haven’t finished our final analysis, but yes, we’ll more than likely have to have layoffs,” she said.
In response to a question about a full reopening of school in the fall, the superintendent said it’s too early to say.
“That certainly is my heart’s desire,” Myers-Small said. “But until we get those (CDC) guidelines, we’re pigeon-holed a little as far as what it looks like.”