Letter to the editor.
This is a letter to the editor from the Ithaca City School District Board of Education. To submit opinion letters, please review our letters policy here and submit them to Managing Editor Thomas Giery Pudney at tgpudney@ithacavoice.com.

As Congress and the President remain deadlocked over COVID relief, local school districts pay the price. Without an influx of federal aid to help offset the profound impacts of the pandemic, New York State will attempt to balance its budget on the backs of our children. Beginning in July, New York State withheld 20% of all aid from school districts. This includes aid for transportation, BOCES, building and foundation aid. Although the state temporarily paused this withholding in September, the threat of significant cuts remains.

The Ithaca City School District so far has spent more than $2.5 million in pandemic related expenses. The CARES Act pandemic relief from the federal government was offset with a pandemic reduction from the state. If the 20% cuts from the state continue, ICSD could see funding shortfalls of up to $6.6 million in this school year alone. Cuts in state aid of this magnitude would have devastating consequences for our children, our staff, and our
community.

While Washington’s decision-makers remain at a standstill, the economic and emotional impacts of the pandemic continue unabated. Congress must pass and the President must sign a COVID relief bill now.

Ithaca City School District Board of Education