Statement of Purpose
Ø Three years of declining state aid
Ø Inequities in the state aid unfairly target poorer upstate districts who rely more heavily on state aid
Ø The property tax cap limits a district's ability to raise taxes to offset losses in state aid, this limits local control over the school district
No relief from expensive mandates
Poor, rural school districts, like Fillmore, find themselves fighting for their very existence based on recent state aid distribution and projections for the near future. Although the state financial situation is perilous, the combination of state aid cuts and the tax levy cap has put many schools in a desperate position. There are ways that our elected officials can help us without spending more money or raising taxes. We have been requesting relief from costly mandates for years and now this relief is critical.
The state aid cuts in 2011-12 reduced our state aid at Fillmore Central School by over $1,200 per pupil while some wealthy suburban districts downstate are being cut by $500 or less. Additionally, wealthy suburban districts in our state have a strong tax base which allows them to generate large amounts of revenue to support their programs. While there have been small increases in aid in 2012-13 and 2013-14, our state aid is still well below the amount we received in 2010-11. Currently, FIllmore has lost 2.3 million dollars in state aid over the last four years. Although there has been some restoration of aid we are still not up to the amount of aid we received in 2008-9.
The state aid cuts and the tax cap will be far more devastating to rural schools with low property wealth. Where a child lives in New York should not affect their opportunity for an education.
The consequences of not taking action may represent the acceptance of a vastly changed public education system. If the tradition of local schools is at risk, we must be prepared for larger school districts, longer bus rides, bigger class sizes, and the loss of local identity. If you value your local district, it is now time to let our elected officials know. The students of Fillmore Central School deserve our best effort as we look to provide them a quality education now and in the future.
It is important for our elected officials to know that our students do not belong to any political party, and quite frankly do not care if our officials are a Republican or a Democrat. What they care about is receiving a quality education that will prepare them for their future. Thank you for helping to assure that for our students.