Greetings Maine-Endwell School Community and thank you for your support of our 2021-2022 budget. Your continued support makes it possible for us to achieve these three critical principles:
1. We want to deliver a premier education to all students that our community can afford and will support.
2. We want to provide a well-rounded Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 educational program that meets all students’ needs.
3. We need to ensure financial health and sustainability for the district.
The voter approved budget for the 2021-2022 school year, which begins July 1, includes funding for all current student programming, and, we will replace all current instructional and non-instructional openings created by retirements or resignations. The budget also includes funding to address enrollment increases expected as students return to the district having left during the 2020-2021 school year.
BUDGET: FEDERAL STIMULUS
The United States Department of Education has allotted billions of dollars to New York State which will flow directly to Maine-Endwell in the form of special funds (e.g., the equivalent of grant money). The district is expected to receive over $6 million in federal aid. The monies have restrictions and expected uses that require spending plans be developed, shared with stakeholders, and submitted by July 1. They also have spending deadlines, meaning, if not met, monies will go away. We believe the funds will be available through 2024. Specific uses are:
A minimum of 20% used to address ‘learning loss’ through implementation of evidence-based interventions, and ensure that the interventions respond to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs, and address disproportionate impact on underrepresented student subgroups.
The remaining funds (80%) can be used for items such as: training/PD; on cleaning and minimizing spread of disease; purchase supplies to sanitize/clean; repair/improve school facilities to reduce risk of COVID; improve air quality; develop & implement procedures/systems to improve preparedness and response; purchasing educational technology (hardware, software, connectivity, assistive technology) for on-line learning; provide mental health services and supports, including full-service Community Schools and hiring of counselors; planning/implementation of activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs; addressing “learning loss”, and “other” activities necessary to maintain operation of, and continuity of, services including employing existing or hiring new staff.
These areas are massive and the ability to spend funds over the next three years is a wonderful challenge. However, we believe any/all spending plans have a ‘continuation of effort’ clause meaning what we spend funds on must be sustainable after federal funds are depleted. For example, if we hire 10 faculty members, we must have a plan for sustaining their positions when the funds are depleted. This is the challenge we are going to have to navigate as we work through the rules, guidelines, and actual development of the plan. You will be provided an opportunity to give input.
We are very hopeful that the 2021-2022 school year brings a sense of normalcy regarding our children’s educational programming and opportunities. Let us hope that our worst days are behind us.