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COVID-19: Long Island School District Cuts Staff Amid Budget Gap Due To Lack Of State Aid

The Copiague School District has been forced to make cuts due to a lack of state aid.
The Copiague School District has been forced to make cuts due to a lack of state aid. Photo Credit: Copiague Schools

A Long Island school district is being forced to cut some staff members and make other cuts due to a lack of state aid in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Copiague Schools Superintendent Kathleen Bannon wrote a letter to families this week announcing that the district would be forced to make cuts due to the pandemic.

“As you may be aware, in order to make up for a pandemic-related shortfall in the state budget, school districts across New York State were expected to prepare for a cut in their state aid,” she said.

“On (Thursday), Aug. 20, the district received a state aid payment for the 2019-20 school year that was 20 percent less than expected,” she continued. “Along with that payment was a notice that all future state aid payments would also be reduced by 20 percent.”

Bannon said that as the Board of Education developed a proposed budget, the district was prepared to handle a reduction in aid, which in a normal year would only impact the Foundation Aid, but this year affected all “mandated payments.”

“This is unprecedented and not something the district can absorb without impacting our programs and staff,” Bannon stated. “It is an unfortunate consequence that we have been forced to make additional budget reductions, which include a reduction in staff.

“When making these decisions, we were forced to consider how to best utilize our staff, programs, resources and supports for all Copiague students in a manner that minimizes the impact on them,” she added. “These decisions were not made lightly, but only after very careful consideration and review of all programs.”

Bannon went on to say that without intervention from the federal government, the reductions could potentially become permanent. No specifics were given about what staff or other budget cuts are being made.

“The long-term ramifications of this could be financially devastating to our school district due to our reliance on state aid, which is almost half of our revenue budget,” she said.

“In Copiague, we are resilient,” Bannon continued. “When times are tough, our staff and community always rise to the occasion and make sure our students are provided with the best education and opportunities possible.

“We will continue to focus on our mission to ensure the safety, well-being and education of our students. They are counting on us.”

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