Determination to right a wrong from the past is paying off for the Hamburg Central School District. More than a year after the first inquiry was made into having withheld state funds released to the district, it was announced that at least $241,000 of that aid denied in 2013 will be restored in 2016-2017 through the office of State Assemblyman Sean Ryan.
Hamburg Schools Superintendent Michael Cornell had only been on the job for six weeks when, in April of 2015, he began researching and advocating for the release of approximately $482,000 denied to the district in 2013. That funding was withheld because the district lacked a negotiated Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan with its teachers by the state-imposed deadline. Hamburg was one of five school districts in the state without an approved APPR plan at that time and the only district since to still have its state aid increase from that year withheld.
“There’s no reason that our school district should continue to have imposed upon us any penalty when nobody else in the state has faced a similar consequence,” said Mr. Cornell, who pressed state leaders for the funding restoration.
Superintendent Cornell’s advocacy on behalf of the district and Assemblyman Ryan’s intense lobbying at the state level have resulted in Hamburg securing $241,000 for 2016-17 through state “bullet aid.” Mr. Cornell said he will continue to work with Assemblyman Ryan to have the balance restored through the same avenue in 2017-18. This restoration of state aid is just the latest in a series of positive trends in the Hamburg Schools, including a Board of Education that is squarely focused on learning for all children and excellent labor relations throughout the district, that has helped the district continue the positive momentum that has been steadily building since early in the 2014-2015 school year.
“We are incredibly fortunate for Assemblyman Sean Ryan’s advocacy on our behalf in Albany. He has long been firm in his support for public education, and, in this case, he was resolute in his determination to have this funding restored to the Hamburg Central Schools,” Mr. Cornell continued.
Announcement of this good news was made at the Hamburg School Board’s July 5 reorganization meeting.
“I’ve always said that, while it is not our job to change our past, it is our job to shape the present and the future of our school district,” said Mr. Cornell. “And, thanks to Assemblyman Ryan, this restoration of funding will help us do just that.”
-- July 6, 2016