WNY schools find out their COVID relief funding as state budget looms

Education

(WIVB) — As many Americans begin receiving their stimulus checks this week, our local school districts are finding out what they will receive from The American Rescue Plan.

Buffalo Public Schools will receive $232 million in COVID relief funding under the American Rescue Plan, far more than any other large local school district.

It’s based on the Title 1-A funding formula which goes by census poverty estimates. So, urban school districts get thousands of dollars per student while suburban districts like Orchard Park get hundreds per student.

Superintendent of Niagara Falls City School District Mark Laurrie said, “This is an equitable formula. This is a good formula for small city urban districts like us and it levels the playing field in a place where we can’t put it on the backs of taxpayers. So yeah it’s right and it’s about time.”

Laurrie says he hopes to spend some of the $32 million coming to his district on upgrading technology.

The big question now is whether the state budget ends up cutting just as much money as the districts would gain from this federal relief funding.

Hamburg Superintendent Michael Cornell says when the cares act funding came in, it was quickly washed away by state funding cuts.

“Every single penny of that has been offset by actual or proposed cuts from the state. So we have netted zero dollars so far in federal money,” said Cornell.

George Richert is an award-winning reporter who first joined the News 4 team in 1998, later returning in 2018. See more of his work here.

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