Planning ahead more important than ever

Some very good questions have been raised relative to the Education Jobs Fund:

How much money did the North Syracuse School District receive?

Why isn't the school district using this money either to create or restore lost positions?

In August, we were notified that the school district would receive $3,179,138 Jobs Fund monies.

Although the funds have not yet arrived from Washington, I anticipate receipt of the federal monies in the very near future. The federal law does allow the funds to be used not just this school year, but next year, 2011-12, as well.

And that's critical, as I will address below.

At the present time, we anticipate a $11.7 million shortfall for the next fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2011. That assumes no state aid cut even though New York state is now projecting a $9 billion deficit. Remember, our state aid was reduced by $7.4 million this school year, resulting in program reductions and the net loss of 98 positions.

If the $3,179,138 Jobs Fund money were not available in 2011-12, our shortfall would be at least $14.9 million, and probably higher, if state aid is again cut drastically for the third consecutive year.

At the same time, the schools face greater accountability due to No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top mandates.

Facing such a serious financial situation during these demanding times, it becomes more important than ever that we plan ahead and utilize our funds in the most effective manner so as to minimize 2011-12 program and staff reductions.

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