There are 31 school districts in New York that are facing fiscal stresses, adding further complications to how education officials are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report detailing the financial crunch facing schools was released on Tuesday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office, which monitors school district budgets for signs of trouble.
“This is a time of unprecedented uncertainty as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt school district operations and finances,” DiNapoli said. “I urge school district leaders to closely monitor their financial conditions, even if their fiscal stress scores were low in the early days of the crisis.”
Schools across the board could face increased headwinds amid a budget crunch at the state level. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned New York may have to reduce projected spending for education by nearly $4 billion if $15 billion in aid from Washington is not approved by Congress.
At the same time, the state's cap on property tax increases, a source of revenue for school districts, is due to remain largely flat this year.
The report does not include the state's largest school district, New York City, as well as the so-called Big Four districts of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers.
The review also found Central New York and North Country school districts had the highest percentage of school districts under fiscal stress. High-need and urban/suburban districts also showed the highest rate of fiscal stress, encompassing 22.2% of the districts.
The Western New York region was the only area of the state without a school district under a form of financial stress.
The full report can be found here.