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Syracuse Schools Surveying Parents for How to Spend $100M

Having received one of the largest funding allotments in New York state from the American Rescue and Recovery Act, Syracuse City School District's priorities include summer learning and a virtual high school.

The Syracuse City School District opened for the first day of hybrid learning in the 2020-21 school year on Monday, October 5th. Superintendent Jaime Alicea took a tour of Dr. Weeks Elementary School on Hawley Ave. A kindergartner gets some help with his lunch bag. Each student gets in line one by one to limit contact. Dennis Nett |
Dennis Nett | dnett/
(TNS) — Syracuse schools are getting more than $100 million and they want parents to tell them how to spend it.

The money comes from the American Rescue and Recovery Ac. The district must have a plan for how it will use the money by the end of this month. Syracuse is receiving $128 million, but district officials said about 10 percent goes to the state, which must approve the district’s plan for the funds.

The survey outlines for parents the district’s priorities for the money:

  • A full-day summer enrichment program with academics in the morning and activities in the afternoon.
  • Additional reading and math support.
  • Additional support for English Language Learners.
  • More field trips, sensory materials and instructional supplies.
  • A virtual academy for high-school students.

The district has to use the money to address learning loss related to the pandemic and other pandemic-related issues and expenses. That can include things like improved ventilation, additional mental health services and technology expenses like the WiFi hotspots and and computers the district purchased.

In addition to the survey, parents and community members can participate in a video chat with Superintendent Jaime Alicea about the funds on Wednesday.

The aid is the single largest amount of aid the traditionally under-funded city district has ever received. The money is a quarter of the 2021-22 budget of $480.1 million. While the district must have a plan for the money by this summer, it has until 2023 to spend the funds.

The city district received far more money than others in Onondaga County, and among the most in the state. The funding was done based on districts’ poverty levels; 50 percent of students in the Syracuse district live in poverty.

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