Urge Albany to Adequately Fund Our Schools in NYS Budget
Dear Pelham Parents and Community Members,
As Governor Cuomo, the New York State Assembly, and New York State Senate near completion of the budget for the next year, the Pelham Board of Education is urging our elected officials to include several provisions that, if enacted, will provide greater financial flexibility and stability to our District.
Specifically, we are urging our leaders to increase the amount of foundation aid received by the District, adjust the Regional Cost Factor calculation so that Pelham is in line with New York City and Long Island, allow districts to establish a Teachers’ Retirement System reserve fund, reject a proposed cap on expenditure-driven aids, and preserve the reimbursement rate for summer special education programs.
Below is a letter that the Board will be sending to Governor Cuomo, Assemblywoman Paulin and Senator Klein. If you would like to make your voice heard, please visit the Westchester Putnam School Boards Association website, click the link to "NYS Executive Budget Shifts Education Costs to Local Taxpayers," copy and paste the letter below into the text box entitled "Message Body" on the right-hand side in place of the text that is already filling the box, complete the remainder of the form and click "Send Message."
Thank you for continued support.
Pelham Board of Education
& The Community Engagement & Advocacy Committee
Dear Governor Cuomo, Assemblywoman Paulin, and Senator Klein,
As members of the Pelham community we urge you to include the following proposals in the 2018-19 New York State Budget. We believe that these proposals will support high quality education, create fiscal stability for our school district, and those in our region, and provide flexibility for administrators and teachers to effectively teach our students.
We urge you to:
- Increase the proposed 0.25% minimum year-to-year Foundation Aid phase-in increase (it was 2.74% in 2017-18). A diminutive 0.25% minimum increase disregards the increased costs in every school district including rising NYS pension system costs, health insurance premiums, and contractual obligations coupled with growing student needs. Additionally, we request that the Regional Cost Index (RCI) for New York City suburban school districts, such as Pelham, be revised and aligned with that of NYC/Long Island at 1.425. We strongly believe that this RCI more accurately reflects the cost of doing business in our area.
- Allow school districts to establish a Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) reserve fund. As you know, districts currently cannot reserve to offset unforeseen spikes in mandatory teachers’ retirement contributions, which are volatile and are often large budget drivers for districts. Allowing a reserve fund, similar to what is permitted for the Employee Retirement System (ERS), would allow districts to smooth year-to-year increases to the TRS contributions when necessary.
- Reject the proposed 2% expenditure reimbursement cap on annual increases in expense-driven aid.
- Maintain the current 80% reimbursement for mandated summer special education programs by opposing the shift to a wealth-adjusted reimbursement rate. This change would cut state funding for 95% percent of the districts Statewide, shifting an estimated $70 million in annual costs to our public school districts. 100% of the districts in Westchester and Putnam Counties would have a significant cut, with over 2/3 of Westchester and Putnam districts reduced to the new minimum reimbursement rate of 25%.
We urge the Governor, NYS Assembly and NYS Senate to appropriately fund public school districts and provide us the tools to create fiscal stability so that our schools can appropriately address the ever-increasing needs of the children we serve.