Schools react to cuts in Cuomo's budget proposal

ESM Superintendent Donna DeSiato also pointed out that the state has not provided any relief for school districts with regard to unfunded mandates, which means the districts will have to make difficult choices in the weeks ahead to develop a budget that will reduce their overall spending - and still deliver a quality educational program for the students.

Last fall, New York was one of two states to win almost $700 million from the federal education program, Race to the Top, designed to reform the nation's school systems. The awards, worth up to $4 billion from the economic stimulus package, went to the states submitting the best proposals for change. According to the state department of education, ESM received $125,000, F-M $29,000 and Jamesville-DeWitt School District $63,000.

"The money is to be used for improving teaching strategies, which, in turn, improves student achievement," Kaiser said.

In addition to this federal program, Cuomo introduced two other initiatives that will allocate $250 million in awards to school districts that improve student performance or enact long-term structural changes that bring down costs.

"To improve achievement takes resources," Kaiser said. "So again a reduction in unfunded mandates would be a good start in lessening expenses which take way from the classroom."

In response to the New York Observer's recent claim that New York state has the highest expenditure per pupil but is ranked 40th among states for students graduating high school, Kaiser emphasized that Fayetteville-Manlius generally graduates 95 percent of its students and many Central New York districts graduate more than 90 percent. She also pointed out that according to Education Week, New York state is second in overall student achievement.

F-M to hold budget sessions

The Fayetteville-Manlius School District would lose more than $3.1 million in state aid from this year to next under the budget proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo Feb. 1.

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