Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Time running short for state aid restoration
Shortly after I became superintendent eight weeks ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his executive budget proposal for 2012-13. Since that time, I and many others have attempted to raise awareness of the devastating impact the governor’s state aid proposal would have on Watervliet and other city school districts like ours.
It appears that lawmakers are nearing a final deal and may soon adopt an early state budget. While we can’t be certain what will happen over the next few days, it appears members of the state Senate and Assembly are attempting to restore at least some aid to school districts.
I want to thank state Assemblyman Ron Canestrari and state Sen. Neil Breslin for listening to us over the last several weeks. I encourage anyone in the Watervliet community who has not already done so to make it known to our elected state leaders how you feel about education. The decisions made in
in the coming days will be critical for Watervliet and could save the district from making deep teacher and staff cuts to the detriment to our academic program. Albany
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to address some 900 students and teachers who gathered in
to advocate for more education funding for small city and rural school districts. Approximately 20 Watervliet students attended this forum together with Mr. Emerson, Mr. Strand and Mr. Dipaola. Albany
Yesterday, I received a letter from Peta Evens, a student council member and student representative who sits on the Watervliet Board of Education, who attended the forum, which I believe was an important educational opportunity as well as a platform for advocacy.
In her letter, Peta says the forum taught her that she can help make a difference.
“As co–president of the student council, it is my job to represent the needs of all of the students in Watervliet. I really feel that I did that when I attended the forum. I am hopeful that our efforts, the efforts of all of the people in Watervliet and elsewhere in the state, will lead to our district, and other districts, just like ours, getting the state aid money that we need,” Peta says in her letter. “This trip taught me that even though I am just a teenager, I can stand up for what is right and that I can make a difference.”
Peta is one of our outstanding students who have taken advantage of the many advanced and college-level opportunities here at
that help our students to get accepted into competitive colleges. I thank Peta, and all who attended the forum, for their effort in helping to make sure that the school district receives the necessary funds to continue programs such as these. I also thank the hundreds of teachers, parents and students who have taken the time to write their elected leaders. You can download a sample letter here if you, too, want to write your representative. Watervliet High School
Also, please remember the district has one more public budget forum scheduled for tonight (March 14) at 6:30 p.m. at the
cafeteria. The forum will begin with an overview of the state's Property Tax Levy Cap presented by Questar III BOCES State Aid and Financial Planning Service. Watervliet Elementary School
Regardless of what may happen in the coming days, the budget will continue to be a topic of discussion at board of education meetings and a public budget hearing will also be scheduled in advance of the May 15 vote.
Your feedback is always welcome as we move forward in the budget development process.