Norwood-Norfolk Central School superintendent concerned over state school funding
Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 1:04 pm

North Country This Week

NORWOOD — The superintendent of Norwood-Norfolk Central School is again worried that this year’s state budget will fail to address his district’s needs.

“The governor's proposal took our expense-based aids … aid which we've been expecting … and rolled it into Foundation Aid,” NNCS Superintendent Jamie Cruikshank said.

Foundation Aid is the main source of unrestricted revenue from the state and was implemented to ensure equity among all NYS schools.

“In our current 2019-20 school year, we are $1,864,286 underfunded from what the Foundation Aid formula states that we should be receiving,” he said. “Other districts are overfunded, according to the formula, which makes no sense.”

The increases that NNCS received in Foundation Aid in the governor's proposal was $294,129, which is only 15.8% of what is owed the district through the formula, according to Cruikshank.

“Expense-based aid is just that, it's aid we receive on expenses that we had. We typically know what expenses we can receive aid on and we attempt to utilize these mechanisms when available,” he said.

By rolling these "known" commodities into the Foundation Aid, it reportedly caused some confusion.

“After backing these expense-based aids out, we determined that the new Foundation Aid in the Governor's proposal was only $294,129,” the superintendent said.

This budget proposal is typically the most conservative.

“We are awaiting both proposals from the Senate and Assembly,” he said. “Then, those three entities must come to an agreement on the state budget.”

Cruikshank is concerned that his district will again be shortchanged in state funding, thus impacting programming at the school.

“I'm worried, once again this year, that basic funding, to continue supporting our programs, won't be forthcoming. We receive about 70 percent of our revenue from the state, so we get rather concerned around this time of year. We'd prefer consistency in the budgeting process.”

“At this stage of the budget we are attempting to continue with the same level of programming that we've had,” he said. “If we receive additional funding then we'll look to continue adding back positions and programs which were eliminated during the recession, or enhance our current programming.”