Dr. Dennis P. O’Hara, Ed.D, Superintendent of the Hauppauge School District, has released a message regarding school funding in New York State (NYS). According to Dr. O’Hara, Ed.D, NYS will be facing significant financial challenges in the future due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). Dr. O’Hara, Ed.D, says that Governor Andrew Cuomo has advised school districts to wait to finalize their 2020-2021 budgets until May 15, 2020. Though Dr. O’Hara, Ed.D, says the full scope of potential state aid cuts is still unknown, he states school districts have been warned to expect a reduction of up to 20 percent (possibly as high as 50 percent) in state aid.
Recently, Dr. O’Hara, Ed.D, sent a letter to Senators Charles Schumar and Kirsten Gillibrand and Representatives Lee Zeldin and Peter King asking for their help in securing federal funding for NYS. He is now asking Hauppauge residents to do the same. In writing letters, Dr. O’Hara says that he believes the following points are important to include:
- Any decrease in state aid will negatively impact Hauppauge students, but the cuts being described (10 – 50 percent) are severe and would damage the educational environment within Hauppauge schools.
- Without federal funding support, the Hauppauge School District’s state aid will be reduced. This will force the Hauppauge School District to consider programmatic cuts, such as increasing class sizes, reducing extracurricular opportunities, reducing fine and performing arts offerings, eliminating athletics, and reducing mental health support staff.
- Hauppauge students and the rest of the Hauppauge community need the advocacy of elected officials now more than ever.
Dr. O’Hara, Ed.D, has also reminded Hauppauge residents to complete the 2020 Census. According to Dr. O’Hara, Ed.D, the Census is used to determine NYS representation in Congress, as well as how billions of dollars in federal funding are allocated to states and communities. Dr. O’Hara, Ed.D, says it is critical for every member of the Hauppauge community to be counted in the Census. He states that the Census can be completed either online, by phone, or by mail. Additional information regarding the 2020 Census can be accessed here.
The letter Dr. O’Hara, Ed.D, wrote to Senators Schumar and Gillibrand and Representatives Zeldin and King can be accessed here. Contact information for legislators serving Hauppauge can be accessed here.