BOCES, CTE and Big 5 School Districts
As a constituent who cares deeply about public education, I urge you to support the executive budget proposal that provides $10 million over two school years for High School College Workforce Transformation Grants. In addition, I urge you to pass S.5024 (Mayer), which will maintain and expand high-quality BOCES programs and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs throughout the state.
The High School College Workforce Transformation Grants would allow local collaboratives consisting of community colleges, school districts and/or BOCES working in partnership with a local industry. These collaboratives would apply to implement strategic workforce plans to promote job readiness in local economies. These grants would provide additional funding for BOCES to supplement, not supplant current expenditures of local, state and federal funds used for similar purposes.
BOCES allow school districts to combine their resources to create cost efficiencies and provide students the education to which they are entitled. Rural school districts often see the greatest benefit from the economies of scale that BOCES provide.
CTE programs in BOCES, Big 5 school districts (New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers) and non-component districts (districts that have chosen to not be a member of BOCES) provide a learning environment that can lead to a rigorous career-aligned learning experience. Students who graduate from these programs are prepared to pursue a four-year college degree or immediately enter the workforce. These programs must remain current and relevant as workforce and economic trends change and businesses continue to demand skilled, knowledgeable and prepared workers.
The current aid formula for BOCES programs, including CTE has not changed since 1990, and the state must update this formula. Special services aid for Big 5 school districts and other non-component districts is capped. In addition, this funding excludes students in ninth grade. All these factors have the effect of reducing state support for CTE programs and shifting the costs of these vital programs to local schools, resulting in the underinvestment of high-quality programs that provide students with the skills employers demand. S.5024 addresses these formulas to ensure appropriate support for these vital programs that prepare our students to join the 21st Century workforce.
Accordingly, I urge you to enact the executive budget proposal that creates the High School College Workforce Transformation Grants and pass S.5024 (Mayer) to maintain and expand and high-quality programs such as CTE and include ninth grade in special services aid funding.
Thank you for your consideration of these important issues. I respectfully ask that you bring up these issues with your conference and I would greatly appreciate a response to this email.