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Budget draft to maintain staff, invest in services

The Poughkeepsie City School District is proposing a budget that maintains student programming and staffing despite anticipating a $1.4 million decrease in state aid.

The $140.1 million budget would also invest in transformational educational initiatives.

Poughkeepsie is among more than 300 school districts in New York anticipating a drop in aid for 2024-25.

"It's disappointing that the proposed state aid budget represents a disinvestment in the important and evidence-based work Poughkeepsie has engaged in in the last four years,” said Dr. Eric Jay Rosser, superintendent of schools. “Our five-year strategic plan has proven to be effective in changing the trajectory of student success in Poughkeepsie, which, among many achievements, has resulted in all elementary schools achieving New York State Education Department ‘Good Standing’ accountability status for the first time in 13 years.”

Rosser noted, historically, such dramatic decreases in state funding would result in major cuts to student programming and staffing. He said the district made “a commitment to do our best” to protect those areas after learning of the proposed cut in aid.

“I am proud to say that the draft 2024-25 budget maintains the current level of student programming and does not result in any staff losing their employment with the Poughkeepsie City School District,” he said.

The draft 2024-25 budget presents a fiscal plan aligned to the five-year strategic plan and supports the district's efforts to sustain and enhance student progress as the district prepares all students to embark on individual paths of success in a globally diverse community.

"We've been diligent in our resource stewardship and prudent in our responsibility of using taxpayer dollars strategically to support student success now and into the future," Rosser said. "We are looking to use a great deal of fund balance to close the gap so that we can continue our forward progress."

Beyond accounting for a decrease in state aid, developing the district's budget was further complicated by the loss of COVID relief, the impact of inflation and the implementation of three collective bargaining agreements settled within the last year.  

Additional highlights for the upcoming budget include investments in:


  • Pre-K to 12 literacy
  • High-quality instructional materials 
  • Arts and music education
  • Pathways transformation
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Teacher and leader professional learning and supports
  • Equity fixes 


District leadership presented the budget at Wednesday’s Board of Education workshop meeting. Ken Silver, assistant superintendent for business, first presented a video primer on how school budgets in New York State are developed at the state and local levels. The intent was to educate the school community of the process so that vested community members and taxpayers would better understand the process. Silver then shared a draft of the detailed budget to the board and answered questions about several line items outlined. The proposed $140,123,358 budget represents a 3.1% increase over last year's approved $135,957,853 budget and currently carries a 4.75% tax increase. Rosser noted he and Silver would be working over the next several weeks to reduce the tax increase to a percentage that accounts for the economic conditions of the local community.

"The restoration of some or all of the state aid reduction will make reducing the tax increase much easier," Rosser noted.  

The Board is scheduled to adopt the budget once the state releases its final budget the first week of April.

The April 6 Superintendent Fireside Chat will discuss the budget and be an opportunity for additional recommendations from the community.

The formal budget hearing is scheduled for May 7 ahead of the community vote on May 21.