School aid boost called ‘good first step’


While the Rome school district still has “work to do” regarding its proposed 2019-20 budget, an increase in the state Foundation Aid category is “a good first step,” according to district Superintendent Peter C. Blake.

Blake, in a tweet today on the district’s website, referred to increased Foundation Aid and thanked Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, Sen. Joseph Griffo and Mayor Jacqueline Izzo for “hard work and efforts” in getting it for Rome in the final 2019-20 state budget.

The Rome district will receive about $1.5 million more in that core aid category compared to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s January proposal, and compared to what was in the district’s latest budget plan.
Regarding how that may affect the financial crunch facing the district’s proposed 2019-20 budget, Board of Education President Paul Fitzpatrick today noted “a lot of work left to go into idea where that’s going to go at this point.”

A board “finance retreat” session is scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the district office, 409 Bell Road. It is to be a closed session, said Blake’s office.

Blake last week outlined about $10.1 million in proposed reductions including cuts in some staffing and programs to help balance a proposed $114.67 million district budget for 2019-20. He has proposed a 3.96 local property tax levy increase that would add about $1.3 million in revenue, but that is pending board approval before it can be plugged into budget calculations.


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