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O’Boyle: School Aid Cut Would Be ‘Crushing’

FREWSBURG — A 20% cut in state aid will impact some districts more than others.

According to Shelly O’Boyle, Frewsburg Central School District superintendent, a 20% cut in state aid would be devastating.

Earlier this month, O’Boyle and Jerome Lee Yaw, Frewsburg Central School District business manager, gave a presentation to the Frewsburg Board of Education about the effects of the state withholding 20% of its aid to the district. Earlier this year, it was announced by state officials that state aid to all school districts could be cut by 20% following the COVID-19 pandemic. The state has a $14.5 billion deficit because of decreasing revenues after the pandemic-related economic shutdown.

O’Boyle told The Post-Journal that the aid scheduled to be cut is expense-based aid, which is money refunded to districts for cost like transportation and BOCES services.

“Districts get money back on how much they spend,” she said. “Use the service and you get a percentage back. They have not finalized this as a cut, but the state has warned it could be permanent depending on federal aid.”

O’Boyle said the school district has already felt the pinch from the state. She said the final state aid payment for the end of the 2019-20 school year was $196,000 less than expected.

“We’re already going into 2020-21 $196,000 short,” she said.

O’Boyle said 62% of the revenues the district receives is from state aid. She said a 20% reduction would be a decrease of $2.6 million.

“That would be crushing to a district like Frewsburg because we are more reliant on aid than a wealthier district,” she said.

O’Boyle said school administrators will continue to watch their cash flow carefully, will reduce expenditures and will watch the federal and state governments closely as the year progresses.

“(The proposed 20% state aid cut) has the potential to effect all districts throughout the state. It’s just not Frewsburg. All districts will feel this,” she said. “The uncertainty is the difficult situation we are in.”

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