State poised to make good on school aid promises

HUDSON—The Hudson City School District (HCSD) Board of Education has learned that the school district will receive all the aid budgeted for 2020-21 school year, but for 2021-22 state officials may try again to combine several aid categories that school officials want keep separate.

The possibility that the state would cut up to 20% of this year’s aid hung over school districts until late last month, when the state Department of Budget said that school districts will get all their scheduled aid, HCSD Business Administrator Jesse Boehme reported at the February 2 board meeting.

In addition to state aid, the district is expecting $2.2 million in specific grants plus additional money from the federal CARES Act, Mr. Boehme said. The district has more flexibility in deciding how to use these grants than in previous years, added Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement April Prestipino.

For the 2021-22 school year, the state has proposed combining 14 aid categories into one. School advocacy groups are lobbying against it, said Mr. Boehme. Keeping the categories separate makes planning easier, he said.

On another subject, the district is still waiting to learn whether ELA (English language), math and Regents exams will take place, Dr. Prestipino said. The federal government makes the decision about 3rd through 8th graders being tested; the state decides about the Regents tests. But the state Education Department still wants to administer tests for English Language Learners who come to in-person classes, but not to those who take their classes 100% remotely.

District Superintendent Maria L. Suttmeier noted the irony of having to call two snow days on the very days that in-person classes were to resume for pre-kindergarten through 5th grade after a week of remote learning due to lack of staff who were not currently quarantined. Classes for 12th grade were to resume for the first time since last March. “We finally got a way to get you back, and the snow came. That was the worst thing about having to call a snow day,” Dr. Suttmeier told Student Representative Noshin Tasnim.

The snow days also caused Dr. Suttmeier to cancel the remote classes. “I’m glad we’re doing a traditional snow day,” which would give students time to read rather than requiring them to resume working on their screens. The superintendent noted the incredible increase of screen time the new normal requires of children.

Also at the meeting:

• Student Rep. Tasnim said the Student Council is assembling ideas for fun student events, such as a talent show. Some events would have to be held outside

• Dr. Suttmeier reported enjoying being on the Commissioner’s Advisory Council of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, saying “I’m in the thick of things.”

The next several HCSD Board of Education meetings will start with budget workshops at 6 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 6:30. This upcoming meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, February 16.

Comments are closed.