Even with the state aid increase promised in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal, Peekskill School officials say they will still need to look for more creative ways to find revenue and cut costs.
Peekskill school would a state aid increase of just under $1.4 million, or $865,191 if building aid is taken out of the equation, according to school aid runs released by Cuomo's office. That amounts to a 4.7 percent increase overall and a 3.3 percent increase if building aid figures are left out.
Cuomo's budget proposal calls for a 3 percent increase in state aid. There are also competive grants of $25 million to fund full-day pre-kindergarten in high need school districts, $20 million for schools who want to to extend their school day, $15 million to fund community schools and $11 million for a master teachers program.
Peekskill schools Superintendent Jim Willis said the state aid figures are in line with what the district is expecting. But he isn't sure how some of the other education initiatives that were mentioned in the proposal will help the school district.
Extending the school day, for instance, would take a lot of work and planning.
"There are contractual issues that come into play," Willis said. "If you add more days to the year, then you add more salary. You'll never get the unions to agree to a longer school day until you pay for it."
Willis also said there is still debate on the effectiveness of extended school days in the American school system.
Willis said some of the other initiatives like, funding for full-day pre-kindergarten, could help the district. The district currently pays $1.1 million for its pre-kindergarten program, with $400,000 of that coming from federal grants.
"We'd be more than happy to take it," Willis said.