URGENT:TAKE ACTION TODAY, SUNDAY JAN 27: Letters needed for Legislative Budget Hearing

We have a call to action TODAY!

The Legislative Budget Hearing for Elementary and Secondary Education will be January 29, 2013.

We can submit comments – but we need respond FAST.

To make it easy for everyone – just send your letter electronically to Barb Beekman at bx3eek@gmail.com – Please put Budget Hearing in your subject line.

 (Here is a sample letter you can edit and personalize. —or,  scroll down for key points to address!)

You must get them to Barb by 10pm on Sunday night.

She will make all of the copies (they need 20 of each submission) and overnight them all to Albany!

Please write to:

Attn: Clinton Freeman
Elementary and Secondary Education Budget Hearing Members
LOB 923
Albany, NY 12248

Make your letter personal and specific – please give your personal story. If you have already written a letter to the Governor – feel free to edit that letter with the Budget Hearing information.

We need to respond NOW. 

Here are the issues to address:

  1.  There are 203 million dollars for fiscal stabilization in the proposed budget. We urge that a fair mechanism be created that evaluates the current fiscal circumstances of many districts. And, that the funds be dispersed to those districts that are in the most immediate danger of fiscal insolvency.
  2. The formula must be changed. It must:
  • Adopt the Board of Regents proposal to eliminate the GEA
  • Address the problems of the GEA and the Foundation Aid Formula that utilize the Combined Wealth Ratio and measures of poverty such as Free and Reduced Price Lunch (FRPL)
  • Create a graduated reduction, rather than a precipice for districts at the low-end of the average needs category
  • Use current numbers when calculating the Foundation Aid Formula

3. The budget did not address the inequities in the GEA. The GEA has been proven to be unfair, and each year it continues, the inequities are perpetuated.
In the proposed budget:

  • Canton’s GEA is a cut of over $1,300 per student. Since 2010 the GEA cut per student is over $6,000.
  • Potsdam’s GEA is a cut of over $900 per student – Since 2010 the GEA cut per student is over $6,000.
  • The Statewide average GEA cut per student cuts since 2010 is $3,500.

Other points:

  • Until these cuts, we have been high achieving schools. According to Business First in 2012, of the 33 Watertown-area school districts, Potsdam was ranked #1 and Canton #3 in performance on State assessments and graduation rates.
  • Additionally, in U.S News and World Report 2012’s “Best High Schools Report,” Canton High School was recognized as a top-performing public school in preparing its students for life beyond high school, placing Canton in the top 10% in NY State high schools and the top 4% in high schools in the United States.
  • Is the State in the business of making helping schools fail? Or, is it in the business of helping schools succeed?

***Mark your calendar for February 5 at 6:30pm and Canton HS. We will have a meeting to organize our lobbying efforts – please come and invite others!

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