About $300 million in additional state aid is expected to make its way to New York’s school when the state Legislature approves a budget later this month, possibly this week. At least some of that should trickle down to Valley Stream’s four districts.
That was the news shared from lawmakers at the Valley Stream Council of PTAs annual Legislative Breakfast last Saturday morning at Memorial Junior High School attended by more than 150 people. Representatives from the town, county and state heard from school officials, as well as parents who are upset about planned cuts in the Central High School District.
Valley Stream’s many representatives were in attendance including Town Councilman Jim Darcy, county Legislators Fran Becker and Carrié Solages, Assembly members Brian Curran and Michaelle Solages, and state Sen. Dean Skelos, as well as an aide of Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy.
Skelos said that the state Senate is working on a budget proposal that would provide aid to schools well beyond Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan. “In the end, I know it’s going to be Long Island friendly,” he said. “No district is going to be hurt by what we do.”
Valley Stream’s four districts each are already slated to receive additional state aid under the governor’s proposal, however school officials said the increases are not adequate. Central High School District and District 24 Board of Education President Tony Iadevaio, speaking on behalf of the community’s four school boards, said unfunded state mandates are making it too difficult on districts. He explained that the financial burdens placed on schools by the state and federal governments are forcing deep cuts to valued programs.
A significant increase in state aid is needed, Iadevaio said, so local school boards have the flexibility to make the educational decisions in the best interests of their respective communities.
He noted that this year school districts have had to shell out a lot of money for the new teacher evaluation system. Additionally, he said the state should fund the costs of administering the mandatory tests in grades 3-8.