ALBANY, 06/25/19 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I/Ref-Oneonta) and Assemblyman Brian Miller (R/C/I/Ref – New Hartford) today announced legislation they sponsored to aid the Schenevus Central School District has been signed into law. The bill (S.4957/A.7499) authorizes advanced state aid payments and establishes a long-term plan to stabilize the school district’s finances.
Senator Seward said, “This legislation is good news for Schenevus students and taxpayers alike. By stabilizing the district’s finances in the short term, school officials can now plan for a sound future. Superintendent Theresa Carlin and the current board of education at Schenevus are intent on instituting a comprehensive approach to address the district’s financial difficulties and I am pleased to partner with them to meet their needs.”
Assemblyman Miller said, “The passage of this kind of legislation is what I was elected to do – help our local communities. I am so proud to have worked with Senator Seward to provide this much-needed relief to help the Schenevus community. Our educators and school administrators are entrusted with preparing our students to lead the state into the future. However, our schools cannot operate to their maximum potential if they are in a financial bind. This legislation will help the Schenevus Central School District now and in the future.”
Schenevus Superintendent Theresa Carlin said, “Schenevus Central School is very excited after hearing the news today that the Governor signed the bill allowing us the opportunity to receive $500,000 in advanced school aid. Schenevus Central School has a long financial road ahead, but the ability to receive an advancement of aid in the amount of $500,000, even though it will result in a reduction in aid over the next 30 years, will alleviate some cash flow concerns and decrease the amount of short term loans our district has been forced to take for survival. This measure will help lower costs associated with short term loans and buy us some time as we work to decide on options for the future of Schenevus Central School. Senator Seward and Assemblyman Miller were instrumental in the sponsorship and quick movement to passing of this bill, and if not for them, their leadership and influence, this would not have been possible. Schenevus is grateful to both Senator Seward and Assemblyman Miller and appreciates all of their hard work.
Schenevus Central School District is a small rural school with a total enrollment of approximately 360 students. Previous school administrators had depleted the fund balance and the district is currently operating with a $700,000 budget deficit. The state comptroller recently designated Schenevus as one of five school districts in the state facing “significant financial distress.”
Under the new law, Schenevus will be eligible to receive an advance aid payment of up to $500,000 this year with the sum decreasing over the next thirty years to support the district’s educational program. District officials must also comply with strict reporting guidelines to certify they are following a prescribed plan to ensure sustained financial solvency.
The new law takes effect immediately.