PUCKHKEEPSIE The Poughkeepsie City School District is among the Hudson Valley school districts whose budget is being reduced by Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget. The budget, according to state senator Rob Rolison (R, Poughkeepsie), also lowers funding to the Wallkill Central Schools, Beacon City Schools, and Garrison Union Free School District, among other school districts he represents.
Superintendent Dr. Eric Rosser estimates that the Poughkeepsie City School District will lose $1.4 million in projected state aid for 2024–2025—a drop of 1.4 percent.
The primary operating funding formula for education in the state is Foundation funding, according to the governor’s budget summary. With an emphasis on distributing State monies fairly to all school districts—particularly high-need districts—it takes into account regional cost variations, community affluence, and student need. It also announces a 2.1 percent increase in funding, or $507 million more than before. Per the governor’s office, Poughkeepsie schools will forfeit $600,000 in Foundation Aid. In addition, the district is losing $840,000 in Universal Pre-K funding and over $800,000 in Charter School Transition Aid.
According to Rosser, there will be difficulties for the school district in continuing to advance and serve the needs of the kids and families in the City of Poughkeepsie as a result of the proposed cuts. The superintendent also mentioned that his district is in its final year of receiving $1.5 million in COVID funds. It’s a $2.9 million deficit in a budget where he anticipated a rise in state funding when combined with the state cut.
Senator Rolison spoke against Hochul’s planned cuts, saying that Poughkeepsie faces issues that are very different from some of the suburban school districts in other places through the 39th (Senate District) and throughout the state. School districts are limited to a maximum of four percent in reserves, unlike municipal governments. The senator contended that in order for school districts to have healthy reserves, that percentage needs to rise to six or seven percent. The greater reserve monies would enable districts to withstand unforeseen reductions in state payments.
You may watch the entire conversation between Dr. Rosser and Senator Rolison below.