What can a resident of the district do to help?
Let our state legislators know that those of us in rural regions expect that they will work to represent us and our children. The New York State Charter guarantees all of our children the right to a free public education. Our schools must be appropriately funded even when economic conditions are difficult. Unnecessary regulations and expensive mandates must be reviewed and changed. Schools and BOCES need more flexibility in matching their programs to the local community and maximizing the available resources.
A sample letter for your use is included with this Advocacy Toolkit. Please send it to as many legislators as you can. Send an e-mail or make a phone call as well. We are not a populous area with much political clout and numbers make a difference. Every contact is important and any small gains we make will be worthwhile.
How else can I help?
Stay informed by reviewing the school web site and the District Newsletter. Inform your friends and family and encourage them to write. If you belong to a club or organization that would be interested, the Superintendent and Business Manager would welcome the opportunity to come to make a presentation.
Legislative Office Building __________
Albany, NY 12248
Dear Assemblyman/Senator _____________:
As a resident of the Fillmore Central School District, I want to thank you for your recent efforts to restore state aid to schools. I am writing today to ask for your support. While I realize the dire financial position of the state, reductions in state aid compounded with the property tax cap has had a devastating impact on my school district.
A percentage cut in state aid affects poor rural districts far more than the wealthy downstate districts. And a percentage tax cap also works against us because our property wealth is low. A 2% increase in the Fillmore Central School tax levy will only generate $44,304 in new revenue. The law has crippled our ability to realistically plan and fund our programs. Adjustments do have to be made in tough economic times. I believe education in rural New York has been “adjusted” enough.
Where a child lives should not mean that their access to an excellent education should be denied. The residents of New York State have always been willing to support education and have shown this year after year in the budget voting process. As a district resident, I am very concerned. This community counts on the school as the center of education, culture and athletic contests. We will never be able to offer the educational opportunities that the wealthier downstate districts do, but we do an excellent job with the resources we have. Our community school continues to struggle with inadequate and inequitable state aid in addition to the property tax cap. The 2014-15 budget must be more equitable to upstate rural schools. Our children, and our economy, need your support on this.