Don't Hurt Our Programs
As your constituent who supports our public schools, I urge you to reject the 2020-21 New York State Executive Budget proposal to merge 10 expense-based aids (BOCES, special services, high tax, charter school transitional, textbook, school library materials, computer software, computer hardware and technology, supplemental public excess cost and academic enhancement) into Foundation Aid.
The proposed collapsing of these 10 expense-based aids into Foundation Aid would negatively impact the resources that school districts, including the Big 5 (NYC, Yonkers, Syracuse, Buffalo and Rochester) could provide to students and severely damage and curtail BOCES programs and services statewide. This change could also impact administrative and management services and professional development in school districts.
The executive budget proposal essentially eliminates BOCES Aid and Special Services Aid in future years. This proposal invalidates the current formulas while appearing to increase Foundation Aid. Since 2016-17, BOCES aid has increased by $146 million and Special Services Aid has increased by $12 million.
This is problematic since in future years, as school districts purchase more BOCES services and programs and additional students enroll in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in the Big 5 and non-component districts, they will not qualify for any additional state aid. Without this aid, school districts already constrained by the property tax cap would have to drastically change the educational services they offer. The elimination of these aids would seriously erode CTE programs in our state, especially in rural areas where there is often a lack of CTE capacity.
BOCES and the Big 5 school districts offer hundreds of successful CTE programs that students can choose from. These programs are created in conjunction with various businesses and prepare students for a career in emerging and established industries such the technology sector, the green economy, the audio/visual field, communications, architecture, automotive and aviation repair, finance, science, technology, engineering and construction, just to name a few.
The state should provide additional funding to school districts so they may expand and support the delivery of BOCES and Special Services Aids, continue to improve graduation rates and prepare our students to enter the workforce.
I ask that you raise these important issues in conference and urge your leadership to reject the executive budget proposal to merge and subsequently eliminate these 10 expense-based aids into Foundation Aid.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I look forward to a reply to my email. Sincerely,
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