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Watkins Glen schools face potential funding crisis

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  • Staff Report 

The Watkins Glen Central School District is grappling with a potential financial crisis due to proposed state aid reductions in Governor Kathy Hochul’s Executive Budget. Superintendent Kai D’Alleva has reached out to state legislators, expressing concern that the district could lose nearly $2 million in foundation aid, a critical source of funding that represents 56% of the district’s revenue. This reduction could necessitate a significant tax levy increase, further burdening local taxpayers.

Governor Hochul’s budget proposes a $35.3 billion school aid package, with adjustments based on enrollment figures and prioritizing support for larger, poorer districts. However, this approach has sparked controversy, especially among rural districts like Watkins Glen, which argue that the changes do not account for the broad range of services schools provide beyond education. The district warns that the proposed cuts could lead to staff reductions and negatively impact student support and achievement.

As school districts like Watkins Glen prepare their budgets without certainty on state aid, there’s a call for legislative intervention to mitigate the impact of the proposed cuts. Superintendent D’Alleva emphasizes the need for a more predictable and sustainable funding model, highlighting the district’s reliance on state aid to maintain its educational and community services. The outcome of these negotiations could have significant implications for the district’s ability to support its students and staff in the coming years.