Budgeting and Forecasting

The Benefits of Budget Engagement

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The Syracuse City School District (SCSD), accustomed to tight budgets and advocating to legislators for more funding, recently found itself in an unfamiliar position: It had more money than it could spend.

The extra dollars were due to an influx of pandemic federal stimulus grants plus staffing challenges that left more than 350 vacancies this past spring, from a normal district employment of over 5,000 people. Without enough staff, it was impossible to launch new programs, leaving $22 million in unspent stimulus dollars planned for use in 2021-22 to carry over to the current school year. In response, SCSD set out this summer to gather community feedback on how to prioritize the uses of its $157 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) funds, allocated over three years.