GJSD officials set to review 2020-21 aid reductions

On Thursday, April 2, New York state lawmakers adopted a state budget that keeps Foundation Aid flat for the 2020-21 school year and maintains overall education funding at nearly the same level. Passage of the state budget came against the backdrop of the nation experiencing the economic downturn associated with COVID-19 and its resulting impact on New York state finances.

How does it affect GJSD?

GJSD school officials continue to review the prospective financial issues that could affect the district during the 2020-21 school year.  One item of concern relates to the introduction of three periodic reviews of state revenue that could result in mid-year school aid cuts. NYS completed the first review on Thursday, April 30, and we are awaiting the results. The district is also reviewing a possible “Pandemic Adjustment” to state aid that is currently being considered for 2020-21, with the promise of federal stimulus funding to offset that substantial aid loss.

In order for the district to continue its return to a position of fiscal stability, Johnstown is dependent upon state aid.  Any aid loss would be detrimental to the district and would change the pathway moving forward. Without the additional federal funding, GJSD would have to reduce expenses significantly.  Over the last three years, the district has undertaken a series of cost-cutting measures, and should further reductions become necessary,  impact on student services and programming would be unavoidable.

“For GJSD, state aid is a primary source of revenue for our district,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Karen Geelan. “Nearly two-thirds of those funds represent an important factor in supporting structure, while providing opportunities for our students and community. As a district, those funds are critical to the planning process of providing effective instructional programs and resources for our students, while being fiscally responsible to our taxpayers. A drastic drop in that funding would greatly affect our ability to continue to provide those essential resources within our school district.”

We will continue to keep you updated on the federal response to states, such as New York, and how that may significantly change our approach to the 2020-21 budget.