A Letter from our Superintendent and Board President to Governor Cuomo...
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo,
We are writing on behalf of the students, parents, staff and community members of the Niagara Wheatfield Central School District. The Niagara Wheatfield Central School District is in upstate NY and is comprised of the towns of Niagara, Wheatfield, Lewiston, and Cambria. Our school district also provides educational programs to the students of the Tuscarora Nation through a contract with New York State.
As you may or may not know, Niagara Wheatfield has the dubious distinction of being at the top on the list of fiscally stressed school districts in New York State. Most often, a district would be proud to be #1. However, in this instance there is no pride, only frustration. It is painfully apparent that the revenues in aid from the state that have been withheld from the district are largely responsible for our being on the precipice of financial insolvency.
Our district has endured years of funding cuts totaling over $67 million dollars; $47 million in foundation aid since 2007-08 in addition to $20 million due to the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). The loss of these revenues has had a deleterious effect on the programs and services that we provide to our students. We have eliminated 137 positions district wide in just the past three years. This has resulted in the elimination of our modified athletic program, a before and after school bus run for students who receive additional academic support, the elimination of many elective courses at the middle and high school level and significant increases in class sizes. This list is just a sample of the opportunities for students that have been eliminated due to a lack of funding.
The GEA was instituted during the Great Recession when the state had to close huge deficits. Schools, as well as other government programs, shared in the sacrifice to make our state financially strong through reductions made to state aid. At this time, there is a surplus of over $5 billion in the state budget. However, your 2015-2016 Executive Budget did not provide an adequate spending plan for school districts. It did include, though, the possible release of $1.1 billion dollars in increased funding to schools with the passage of your ‘opportunity agenda’ education reforms.
We have worked diligently to stay within the parameters that have been given us. We have done what has been necessary to begin the ascent from the depths of near dissolution only to find that state aid funds are being held hostage to additional educational initiatives that will only serve to undermine the progress that we have made both financially and instructionally. The reforms, fueled by the misinformed notion that all NYS public schools are failing, will serve no purpose other than to exacerbate the tension in an already stressed system.
Niagara Wheatfield Central School District has shared the sacrifice of limitations in funding, suffered significant reductions to student programs while at the same time implementing the initiatives set out by the State Education Department. We implore you, on behalf of our district, to support us as we have supported you. The state coffers are full. They are actually overflowing. It is time to do the ‘right thing’. Fully fund public education at the levels demanded by the courts and the state constitution and eliminate the GEA.
Lynn M. Fusco, Ph.D., Superintendent of Schools
For more information on the GEA and what you can do to help support our efforts, click here.
April 6, 2015
The search for our next Superintendent of Schools remains on schedule. The consultants from School Leadership, LLC, retained by the Board of Education to assist in the search process, reported that the firm received 25 expressions of interest and 22 completed applications by the April 3 deadline.
The consultants are in the process of vetting the candidate pool through a detailed paper screen, interview and reference check process aligned to the Board-approved specifications for the position. The consultants are scheduled to meet with the Board on April 29 to review all applicants for the position and to assist the Board in selecting candidates for semi-finalist status to be interviewed. The Board intends to meet again the week of May 5 to initiate the interview process. The complete schedule for the search process is available at the link Superintendent Search at this Home Page.
It is the Board’s intention to appoint the successful candidate in May, as scheduled. It is anticipated that candidate will begin on or about July 1.
The Board would like to thank the staff and community for providing important input through the focus group meetings with the consultants in February and by completing the on-line survey. That information was instrumental in the development of the position specifications that continue to be used in the selection process.
As always, please feel free to contact me should you have any remaining questions about the search process.
Steven Sabo, President
Board of Education
The Niagara Wheatfield Central School District held a "Common Core Parent Night" at Colonial Village Elementary School on January 14th for parents of students in kindergarten to fifth grade. Please click on the link to view the powerpoint presentation from that evening.
7:30 PM Spring Concert at HS
6:00 PM Board of Education Meeting
8:00 AM - 11:00 AM Senior Breakfast/Safety Assembly
11:00 PM - 4:00 AM After Prom Party at HS
11:00 PM - 4:00 AM After Prom Party at HS
5:30 PM Senior Awards Night at HS
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM Senior BBQ
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Grades (K-8) Half Day for Students