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Schuylerville Central School District


NYSUT President Melinda Person held a roundtable discussion with education officials and local lawmakers on Friday to discuss the impacts proposed Foundation Aid cuts would have on the Schuylerville Central School District and its community.

Schuylerville stands to lose more than 17% of its Foundation Aid under the executive budget proposal, amounting to nearly 6% of last year’s budget.

“The bottom line is this: these cuts will impact Schuylerville like you wouldn’t believe,” said Superintendent Gregg Barthelmas.

“These cuts cannot go through,” said NYSUT President Melinda Person. “There’s a common thread that I’ve heard in every district I’ve met with, it’s that we don’t want to go backwards, we want to move forward. To pull the rug out from districts who have done the right thing is unconscionable.”

“There is no way you take a 17% cut and not have an impact on what you can provide students.”

~ Christine Burke, Schuylerville Assistant Superintendent for Business

The effects of these cuts will also be felt regionally. Officials from the Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES talked about the reverberations the proposed cuts are having across the region. “Here in this region, with this proposal, 21 of our districts are being hurt by this,” said WSWHE BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Turina Parker. “When we talk about all the work that has been done in growing opportunities for kids, it really does take us back.”

Those expanded opportunities could be clearly seen at a campus tour following the roundtable discussion: agriculture programs, career and technical education programs, students engaging in engineering, woodworking and 3D printing. All are hands-on learning programs that could potentially be at risk if these cuts remain in place.

“To think that agriculture programs at Schuylerville, at Argyle, at Cambridge, at Greenwich could be at risk is heartbreaking,” said Assemblymember Carrie Woerner, who represents Schuylerville.

I feel like this budget throws away years of progress, it feels like we’re running into a brick wall with this. It’s very frustrating.”

~ Bernie Buff, Schuylerville Board of Education member

But education leaders were also concerned about the effect the cuts could have on mental health services for students, desperately needed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our teachers don’t just teach the content,” said Schuylerville Teachers Association President Erin Lloyd. “They are an ear to listen, they are there for students who are going through unprecedented times.”

NYSUT has been working with its allies in the Legislature to remove these cuts from the final budget proposal, and we will keep fighting to make sure that our schools, educators and students get the resources they need and deserve.

“We can’t build a budget off the backs of students, their education and local taxpayers. That’s totally unacceptable. It’s clear there’s bi-partisan agreement that the legislature will not let this stand,” said Senator Jim Tedisco, Ranking Member of the Senate Education Committee.

Words | Ben Amey
Images | El-Wise Noisette