Budget cuts from state will ‘dramatically impact’ education

Superintendents discuss budget gaps from governor’s proposal

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While elected officials from The Suffolk County News’s coverage area have expressed their deep concern and advocacy for our public schools, the cut in state funding to school districts on Long Island will prove to be a major issue as the New York State Senate and Assembly work in the coming weeks to finalize the FY 2025 budget.

We spoke with our coverage area’s superintendents on how they plan to address the state funding gap in the 2024-2025 school district, should the governor’s proposed budget be approved in its current state:

Dr. Timothy Hearney, Bayport-Blue Point

Budget decrease proposal:
3.6 percent, $576,508

“As you know, the budget process is in the early stages of development, and the state aid funding allocations, specifically foundation aid, has not yet been finalized. However, be assured, that our district continues to monitor this matter very closely. We have and will continue to work with our elected officials to lobby for the restoration of the “Save Harmless” provision that is tied to increases in foundation aid. We are hopeful that the state will reinstate this provision along with Consumer Price Index (CPI) as the Inflation Adjustment factor for all school districts. While we await a finalized state budget, the district is working to develop contingency plans for the coming school year.”

Dr. Marc Ferris, Sayville

Budget decrease proposal:
16.86 percent, $3,401,383

“The Sayville Public School District is a high-performing district, providing a wide range of academic and extracurricular opportunities for all students. We pass responsible budgets each year and maintain healthy financial reserves aligned with comptroller recommendations. The proposed $3.4 million cut to our Foundation Aid will dramatically impact the education of our children across all grade levels. We respectfully demand that the governor restore funding to our school and all New York State schools by adhering to the Save Harmless policy that has been in place in New York State for decades.”

Dr. Joseph Centamore, Connetquot

Budget decrease proposal:
.21 percent, $107,000:

“The district is working with our locally elected representatives on advocating for fair state aid increases.”