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Feb 2014

Vol. 3, Issue 3

Dr. Diane Ravitch speaks at WPSBA program

Across the Board

A WPSBA Publication

TAX LEVY CAP...HOW LOW CAN WE GO?

Dine & Network - March 13th - Register Now!

With the CPI-Levy Limit at 1.48%, districts have to be wondering TAX LEVY CAP...HOW LOW CAN WE GO?  Join board colleagues and superintendents for dinner and dialogue at our upcoming Dine & Network.  Share insights and ideas on topics such as, potential cuts to programs and staff; use of reserve funds; short and long-term budget planning; and community outreach and messaging. 
 
DINE & NETWORK
Thursday, March 13th
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
SW BOCES (Building I, Culinary Arts Dining Room)
65 Grasslands Road, Valhalla, NY 10595
Cost: $20 per person
Space is limited
Register through your District Clerk
 
In This Issue
- Dine & Network
- GEA Links
- President's Message
- On the Calendar
- DC Conference
Albany Needs You!
WPSBA is setting up meetings with our legislators in Albany on Monday, March 10th as part of the NYSSBA Capital Conference.  We need a strong showing in support of public education as our legislators work to finalize the state budget.  We encourage you to attend.

President's Message -- Partnering For Change

Grenulletings, colleagues.
The narrative in public education continues to be dominated by debate critical of the 'reform' initiatives imposed by Albany. To the credit of our WPSBA team, and in collaboration with our partners at LHCOSS and the Chief School Administrators of So. Westchester and Putnam Northern Westchester, we remain at the forefront of many regional discussions, offering recent programs highlighting these issues: the Student Data Privacy Roundtable; the Diane Ravitch program and a robust Legislative Forum. We continue to press forward, launching a comprehensive State Legislators: Eliminate the GEA and Restore our School Aid!  advocacy campaign that underscores the financial realities impeding our ability to provide the quality education that our communities need to excel.
We aim to maintain our focus on creating awareness about the significant external pressures forcing public education into dangerous and uncharted crossroads. Together, we can continue to make a difference! 

Check Out Our GEA Toolkit

 toolkit - n  
1.  a set of tools designed to be used together or for a particular purpose

 

Our particular purpose is clear: The Westchester Putnam School Boards Association is calling on all school districts and education advocacy groups to join our campaign and call for an end to the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), which has taken more than half a billion dollars from school districts in the four county region.

 

For the past four years, the NYS Gap Elimination Adjustment (originally called the NYS Deficit Reduction Assessment) has resulted in an average reduction of 16% in state aid in Westchester and Putnam school districts. This equates to a staggering $347 million of state aid that did not go to Westchester and Putnam school districts, with another $68 million slated to be taken according to the Governor's 2014-15 budget runs. Thus, $415 million in total will have been stolen from our district aid to balance the state budget, creating further financial stress in the era of the tax levy limitation. Eighty percent of the districts in the two counties receive less in aid than they did four years ago, which is unacceptable. For graphs, charts and more information, CLICK HERE.  

 

The WPSBA campaign, which is being mirrored by efforts across the state, encourages our legislators to stand up and restore the money that has been taken away. This strategy to "seize" education dollars has happened at the same time that state-imposed financial and program demands on school districts have continued to grow -- APPR, Common Core standards, new high-stakes assessments -- despite the local tax levy limit and minimal state mandate relief.

 

What can you do? Pass a local school board resolution supporting elimination of the GEA, encourage community members to send letters to the governor and state legislators with a few clicks by using the WPSBA VoterVoice online campaign. We will also keep you posted on upcoming meetings with legislators to press the agenda.  ACCESS GEA TOOLKIT. 

 Dr. Deborah Delisle, U.S. Dept of Ed, to Speak on Feds Role In Education

Here's an opportunity not to be missed!  On March 20th Dr Deborah Delisle, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education, will speak on issues pertaining to federal policy and initiatives for P-16 education. This timely dinner presentation is co-sponsored by WPSBA, the Lower Hudson Council of Administrative Women in Education and the College of New Rochelle.
 
According to her bio, "Dr. Delisle plays a pivotal role in policy and management issues affecting elementary and secondary education.  She helps ensure equal access to services leading to improvement for all children, particularly children who are economically disadvantaged. She also serves as the principal adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Education on all matters related to pre-K, elementary and secondary education."
 
Dinner Presentation with Dr. Deborah Delisle 
Thursday, March 20th from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
(5:30-6:30:registration; 5:45-6:30: light buffet dinner; 6:30-7:30: Presentation/Q&A)
Maura Hall, Main Campus, College of New Rochelle, 29 Castle Place, New Rochelle 10805
$25 per person (Fee event.  You may need to register through your District Clerk.)
To register, CLICK HERE 

Also on the calendar....

WPSBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING
Thursday, March 27th from 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
(Light dinner served)
Scarsdale District Office (located in High School), 2 Brewster Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583
All are welcome.  To register, CLICK HERE  

Legislative Advocacy Committee (LAC) Meeting
Thursday, March 27th from 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Scarsdale District Office (located in High School), 2 Brewster Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583
WPSBA DISTRICT CLERK WORKSHOP 
Wednesday, March 26th from 8:30-11:30 am
So Westchester BOCES, Valhalla

SAVE THE DATE:
Friday, May 23rd at 8:00 am - Negotiations Roundtable
Thursday, May 29th at 6:00 pm - Annual Dinner

National Advocacy Institute - Washington, DC

Putnam, Rockland, and Westchester Board of Education members meet with Congresswoman Nita Lowey

Education is said to be the number one priority in our country, yet only 2% of the Federal Government goes towards education. This underlies the conflicting priorities that surfaced at the National School Boards Association (NSBA) National Advocacy Institute (NAI) held in Washington DC in early February.

  1. Local School Board Governance: Federal overreach is impacting our local schools.  NSBA  is calling for more flexibility and decision-making at the local school board level.
  2. Federal Education Funding: IDEA was authorized with 40% federal funding, yet funding has hovered in the teens and is now under 10%. Congress must honor its commitment and fully fund IDEA. Also, recent cuts to Title I funding affect our most vulnerable students and must be reinstated through formula aid.
  3. Re-authorization of ESEA: ESEA (aka NCLB) is the backbone of federally imposed state and school district high-stakes testing and accountability mandates, as well as other intrusive, punitive elements. Re-authorization with local flexibility and parameters that support student learning and achievement is long overdue.
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