Uncertain of state aid, school board plans budget

HUDSON—Classes and school buildings are closed for the rest of the school year. State policies are still developing. But the vote on the budget for the new school year, which begins July 1, elections for seats on the school board are coming next month.

As for the 2020-21 school district budget proposal, “There are many unknowns at this time as it relates to how we will need to re-imagine school, given social distancing protocols that are likely to still be in place when we return to school next fall,” Maria L. Suttmeier, superintendent of the Hudson City School District (HCSD) said in emails May 7 and 8.

In a presentation to the School Board May 5, Dr. Suttmeier and Business Administrator Jesse Boehme listed “New Challenges” that included:

• Social distancing on playgrounds, in cafeterias, and hallways; on transportation; and in classrooms

• “Re-imagining school” for more on-line instruction

• Disinfecting protocols and hygiene

• Health assessments

• Consideration for students with special needs

• Mental health considerations.

‘There are many unknowns at this time as it relates to how we will need to re-imagine school.’

Supt. Maria L. Suttmeier

Hudson City School District

Another uncertainty is how money much the state financial aid the district will receive from the state in the upcoming year and in subsequent years.

“Budget figures are too preliminary to repeat,” Mr. Boehme said in a May 6 email. “We have been in a holding pattern because we’ve been waiting to see what the government is going to do with… state aid for the 2020-21 school year.”

On May 19 the HCSD Board of Education will hold an online meeting using Zoom, where Dr. Suttmeier is to present next year’s Education Plan to board. School officials expect the board will adopt a budget proposal that day to set before voters. If that doesn’t happen, the board will hold a special meeting May 21 to finalize the proposed spending plan.

A proposed Budget Book should be available to the public May 26. Absentee ballots must be mailed June 2, with June 9 set as the last day to vote on the budget.

In addition to the budget, HCSD residents are to elect school board members. Two seats on the seven-member board are up for reelection.

“We have several weeks of this school year to focus on before we begin planning for… next school year,” wrote Dr. Suttmeier. That includes:

• Though statewide Regents tests have been canceled, “teachers will continue to grade student work and provide students and parents with relevant feedback,” according to an update on the HCSD website. A goal is to “maintain the academic achievement that we expect from our students.”

Students in 6th through 12th grade should expect to receive 30 to 40 minutes of work daily per each class, according to school policy

• There will be no in-person event for pre-kindergarteners through 11th graders to mark the last day of School. “There are no mass gatherings permitted at this time,” said Dr. Suttmeier. “Unfortunately, school districts are unable to use school premises for in-person end-of-year events”

• “The only events we are planning for at this time are related to the Class of 2020,” the superintendent said. “Our focus is on the Class of 2020, which is losing so much due to the crisis. We are now in the beginning stages of planning senior awards and graduation in a safe manner using all social distancing protocols. Details will be announced once we have them fully worked out,” she said.

Around Hudson, signs have appeared cheering on the graduating seniors.

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