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Schools have 20 percent of state aid withheld

Aug 19, 2020 3:15 pm
Joseph Spector is reporting for the Poughkeepsie Journal school districts and colleges have learned their state aid has been held back by 20 percent due to the economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. New York's roughly 700 districts were notified late last week that $324 million in payments for July and August would be withheld as the state deals with a $14-billion revenue decline due to the pandemic's impact on the economy. The money represents a fraction of the $28.5 billion in aid the state provides schools every year. School officials decried the delay in payments and whether it might become part of larger, permanent cuts, at the same time more money is needed this fall to prepare schools for COVID safety measures to reopen. SUNY colleges are also dealing with enormous fiscal pressures as they reopen this month. The delayed payment to colleges is even larger than to K-12 schools: about $431 million, state records show. Whether the delay is ultimately lifted will likely depend on whether Congress gives a bailout to states all struggling with unprecedented drops in revenue, New York officials said. The New York State United Teachers union derided the payment delays to schools and colleges, saying it is the worst time to be withholding aid. “We know that however schools and colleges open this year, it will require many additional expenses," NYSUT president Andy Pallotta said in a statement. "Without funding to cover the massive costs of PPE, barriers, cleaning supplies and more, local school districts and campuses will not be able to meet the goal of safely reopening schools for all.” Read the full story in the Poughkeepsie Journal.
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