NY's financial strains get worse; school districts brace for possible cuts

The state's financial strains are only getting worse, and school districts across Long Island are now bracing for possible cuts.
One of the reasons why the state is in such bad shape right now is because it relies heavily on state sales tax to fund itself and consumer spending is down.
Places like Westhampton Beach are normally very bustling villages in the summer and fall. But like all downtowns across Long Island, economic activity is a small fraction of what it normally is.
In the coming weeks, the state has some big payments to make, including aid to local governments and school districts. There is a good chance that the state will cut that aid by billions of dollars. Education leaders say both school districts and parents need to be patient.
"Districts are really working with a lack of information. But, I think, doing the best that they can do ... listening to the information that we have thus far about what percentage of a decrease could they anticipate and looking at their budgets to see where they can remove that amount," says Julie Davis Lutz, of Eastern Suffolk BOCES.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says hopefully New York will be seeing more support coming out of Washington.
"We've seen about $5 billion so far to help with expenses related to the COVID-19 crisis. But clearly we need some more support to plug what will be a budget hole at the state level," he says.
The state passed a budget April 1, which is the start of New York's fiscal year. The budget included a new provision giving the governor the authority to cut spending in four times over the year, depending on the state's financial condition.
The governor's office just issued a report saying that because of the pandemic's economic impact, the budget, in effect for only a month, is obsolete.
If the governor orders spending cuts, state legislators get 10 days to make any changes in where the cuts take effect.
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