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January 30, 2015

Vol. 4, Issue 3

Across the Board

           A WPSBA Publication

Budget Runs Held Hostage - Call to Action!



As you know, the Governor is holding the school district budget runs hostage to his 2015 Reform Agenda proposal. In his State of the State presentation, the Governor specifically said that a higher level of state aid (a 4.8% increase of $1.1 billion) is contingent on the State Legislature passing "these" reforms. We urge you to use the NYSCOSS link TODAY to send an online customized letter to Governor Cuomo. 


Did you catch Lisa's quote in today's Journal News Editorial "Cuomo's budget games disregard local school concerns"?

"We don't have three men in a room," said Lisa Davis... referring to the hidden style of negotiating that Cuomo is used to. "We have back and forth going on within school districts. Homeowners and community members expect to know how much money we have and why class size will go up or down." 

In This Issue
We Want You!

The WPSBA Nominating Committee is accepting names for consideration for the Association's 2015-16 Board of Directors.  If you are interested or have a candidate recommendation, please send it to

Legislative Forum - Register Now!

We're Bringing Albany to You!  Join us for our Annual 

Legislative Forum 

An Executive Budget without budget runs or any mention of the GEA? A newly proposed teacher evaluation system that is a step backward, rather than a step forward?  Don't miss this chance to speak with our State Legislators and rally their support for our school district priorities. Key topics will include: GEA full restoration; Assessments/Evaluations; One Size Does NOT Fit All.  

DATE:    Thursday, February 26

TIME:     7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

PLACE:  Purchase Elem. School  (Harrison CSD), 2995 Purchase St., Purchase, NY 10577


President's Message
Susan Elion Wollin, WPSBA Pres.

Dear Board Colleagues:

     They say sunlight is the best disinfectant. And with the bright light that Governor Cuomo has put on education, you might think we're on the cusp of positive and meaningful change. But while the discussions about tenure reform and teacher evaluations and failing schools are worthy ones to have, they miss the bigger picture. As an editorial in The New York Times put it, "The Governor left unanswered a raft of questions, including whether he's really getting to the heart of the problem." And that problem, pure and simple, is money.
     As long as the Governor insists on unfunded mandates and tax caps and withholding school funding, we, the very people charged with making our schools run successfully, will have a nearly impossible job. We no longer have a "runway" before our districts' near financial insolvency; not to mix metaphors, but that ship has sailed. All the easy fixes, and even many of the hard ones, are in the past. Plain and simple, we are at a crisis point.
     What can we do about it? To be sure, we have to continue and grow our existing legislative advocacy and outreach. But I believe we have to go further. We have to mobilize our core constituencies to fight for our public schools, while also seeking broader avenues to pursue. Yes, that means teachers and students, as well as parents and community members. But it also means involving business leaders, municipal leaders... in short, anyone who has a stake in public education, which of course, is everyone. We must extend our partnership, and expand and strategically repurpose our work to better enhance our message. When we speak with one cogent and consistent voice, and a loud and persistent one at that, we are more likely to get the Governor and Albany's attention. And attention can lead to action.
     It's traditional to have resolutions for the New Year. As people who care passionately about public education, let each of us make one to raise our voices ever louder, consistently and in unison, and encourage others to do the same. Our goal should be to make sure our schools get what they deserve. Our children deserve no less.
     I look forward to continuing to work with each of you in the coming months. 

Crafting an Effective Message - Dine & Network

    How can we craft effective messages to address top-down education initiatives and school funding issues? 
    Join board of education colleagues and superintendents at the February 12th WPSBA Dine & Network Program, "Make Your Message Count."  Michael Conte, CEO of Syntax, will share his communications expertise and help us strategize ways to: change the public education advocacy paradigm; craft concise, yet effective messages; and develop district and regional communications tools.   


DATE:    Thursday, February 12th

TIME:     6:30 pm - 9:00 pm

PLACE: SW BOCES Center for Career Services (Bldg "i"), 65 Grasslands Rd., Valhalla

COST:   $20 per person (Fee event - Register through your District Clerk) 

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