March 19, 2021
Dear Canajoharie CSD Family,
We have had a very good start to the new 7-12 schedule. The students, faculty and staff have adjusted well and as we stated it gives us 50% more in-person time than before. The remote days have been of great help in many areas to ensure students are caught up, work on projects and to spend time with teachers. Looking ahead, we do plan on conducting concerts, graduations, orientations, moving up ceremonies and awards nights in person. Further detail will be coming out soon with specific dates. As with anything during this pandemic, things can and will change, so we are trying to be as transparent and organized as possible. Please answer any phone calls and emails from the district and check the website a few times a week for updates. The final list of remote days for the school year will be 4/19, 4/30, 5/14, 5/25 and 6/11.
The US Department of Education declined the waiver request from NYS to cancel 3-8 testing and Algebra I, Earth Science, Living Environment, and ELA regents exams. We will be conducting the tests in late April and May relating to grades 3-8 and the regents exams at the end of June. The grades 3-8 testing were reduced to a minimal amount of questions and only one day per test. A letter from your respective school will be coming out soon with dates and times.
We will start to roll out the budget for the 2021-22 school year. Please read the budget newsletter or attend the budget hearing on Thursday, May 6 at 6pm in the high school auditorium. With regard to the budget please keep your focus on two areas, stimulus funds and revenue from NYS. From an outsider’s perspective it may look like we are receiving a windfall of funds, but what is really happening is funds are becoming available for the costs we have incurred due to the pandemic and also help position the district for the future when the “cliff” falls off with state funding. The stimulus funds are also one time payments. One of our biggest revenue sources in our budget is what is called “Foundation Aid”. It accounts for almost 50% of our revenue. The past two years that amount has not increased. The hope each year is that there is an increase of about 3-5% or $270,000-$420,000. Since it has not increased we will see a deficit of $550,000-800,000 and any future increases will be based on the stagnant amount. Our job is to financially position the district when the stimulus money goes away next year and we have the fallout from the stagnant foundation aid. We will take the stimulus funds that are not used and allocate some to the reserve and fund balance accounts so that we can assure we have the proper funding in the future and help minimize the tax burden as well. As the budget information comes out, please look at these areas carefully. As always, you may reach out with a phone call or email if you have any questions.
Just a note regarding snow days; if we do not use all of our snow days we will be adding back to the Memorial Day weekend starting with Friday, May 28th. If we happen to go over on snow days we will start by attending school on Friday, April 9 and work backward for that week. Let’s hope for a calm rest of March and into April! As a note, we still have Spring Break from April 2 – April 11.
I cannot thank everyone enough for all of the support and work that has been done this past year. Please make sure we are still vigilant with wearing masks, washing hands and keeping socially distanced. In addition, if you would like to get the vaccine please schedule an appointment. All of these mitigation measures will help reduce the spread, new cases and in turn lower the number of people quarantined so we do not have any other unplanned remote days.
We are almost there!
Dr. Nick Fitzgerald, Superintendent of Schools