Modified Lansingburgh Reopening Plans, Effective August 27
Below is the statement read by Lansingburgh Superintendent, Dr. Antonio Abitabile, during his 2 PM August 27 YouTube Livestream. This statement was emailed to all Lansingburgh families shortly after the conclusion of Dr. Abitabile's Livestream. You can also view the video of Dr. Abitabile's Livestream here.
The statement summarizes the district's modified school reopening plans for the 2020-2021 school year.
Key Points Include:
- A large factor in modifying reopening plans was the recent announcement that all schools in New York State would have 20% of their state aid funding cut.
- Lansingburgh is more reliant on state aid than wealthier, suburban school districts and the decision to cut state aid means a loss of $6.5 million from our annual operating budget. This funding cut made it very financially difficult to reopen using the district's original plan.
- Turnpike Elementary students will still attend in person unless those families opted for full remote learning.
- Special Education Multiply Disabled 12:1:2 self-contained classes will operate in-person at Turnpike.
- All students in grades 3-12 will now participate in full remote learning until the district can return to its original reopening plan. Remote learning for all students in grades 3-12 will start on September 9.
- The district will host another online Community Q&A Session on August 31 to answer any new questions. Please submit your questions to Covidinfo@lansingburgh.org before that date.
More details and information will be available soon.
Dr. Abitabile's August 27 Statement
Lansingburgh School Community:
The mission of every public school district in this country is to provide the best educational experience possible for all students, balanced with utilizing whatever resources that we are afforded. Due to circumstances beyond our control, I am writing to all of you today with some extremely unfortunate news that makes this district’s mission much more difficult to achieve than others. We were notified late last week that all schools in NYS, regardless of need, are receiving a 20% reduction in state aid funding. This reduction is expected to last at least for this school year or until we receive federal funding to replace this shortage of aid.
The inequity of this 20% flat cut by our government cannot be understated and leaves me struggling because I know this decision further impedes our ability to educate our neediest children. Districts across the state, just like Lansingburgh are in financial despair, compared to our wealthier, suburban school districts. These school districts are much less reliant on state aid, while 65% of our overall funding is derived from these same revenue sources. This cut is equivalent to 12% of our overall budget or $6.5 million out of our $52 million overall operating budget.
This financial burden, combined with around 40% of students opting for remote learning and staff members still conflicted about returning safely to school, makes it impossible for the district to open all of our schools for in-person instruction on September 8th. To accommodate our most critical learners, fortunately, we are still able to open Turnpike Elementary School. In addition to Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades, UPK and EPK will also still open as previously scheduled, with only a slight reduction to 1 section of EPK. Additionally, each of our Special Education Multiply Disabled 12:1:2 classes will also be moved to Turnpike. All self contained special education classes will operate in-person from 8:30-11:30 and learn remotely beginning at 12:30. This means that all other students in grades 3-12 will now begin the school year learning remotely until we are able to return to our original reopening plan. Only staff assigned to these classes will physically report to work at Turnpike, while all other staff will be working remotely from home.
There has also been a change in our school calendar that everyone needs to be made aware of. Tuesday, September 8th has been shifted to a superintendent conference day and Wednesday, September 9th will now become the first day of school for students in grades 3-12. Our phased-in reopening at Turnpike has now been moved back one day. Mr. Knox will send out the new reopening timeline with Turnpike families in the very near future.
I understand that this leaves families with even more questions than you had previously and we will do our best to answer them in a timely manner. However, the time sensitive nature of this news is of greater importance than waiting to get into the finer details. We will be hosting another live Q&A session on Monday, August 31st from 4:30-6 PM and will post the link to the video feed soon. Please continue to submit your questions to COVIDInfo@lansingburgh.org and we will incorporate them into the presentation.
Dr. Antonio W. Abitabile, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools