” The state government has written off schools with the Cuomo administration” said Dr. James Mapes, superintendent of schools of Baldwin Union Free School District. While the federal government has been giving the same amount of money every year, the state government has left schools to scrabble. According to Edward Cullen, superintendent of business in the Baldwin Union Free School District, the state government has given little to any mandate relief. He also said that state aid has been decreasing every year. So many school districts are struggling to keep their schools open without laying off workers or cutting programs.
Will ever come a time when Baldwin will have to cut programs or lay off teachers? ” There’s the possibility, but the community has been supportive but there might be a time,” he said.
The Baldwin Union Free School District has to close its district office one day a week in the summer to save money. In other parts of the country school districts are shortening the amount of days in the school calender and hours in the day, according to an article by the New York Times . The article stated that schools in areas like New Mexico and Idaho are going to be closed on Fridays or Mondays come September. As more and more schools cut summer programs, parents are concerned that their children may not receive a proper education and a lot of Americans believe that their children need more instruction time according to the New York times.
Justin Hamilton, spokesman for the federal department of education who spoke to the New York Times, said, “Instead of increasing school time in a lot of cases we’ve been pushing back against efforts to shorten not just the school day but the week and year. We’re trying to prevent what exists now from shrinking even further.” President Obama said that the school day is too short, our school week is too short and our school year is too short.
But what can the schools do?
According to the New York Times, Los Angeles had to slash its school budget from $18 million to $3 million dollars because it was running out of money. On Long Island some school district budgets were not passed, like Westbury and Seaford. Many people are afraid of the effect of the tax cap. According to the Bond Buyer online the new restriction on the taxing powers of local entities only adds to their weakened finances. Elizabeth Lynam, director of state studies at the Citizens Budget Commission believes that this new tax cap will force some discipline at the local level.
According to Newsday, Joseph Dragone, assistant superintendent for business at the Roslyn School District said that under the new law the district might have to cut about $1.4 million in the year 2012 and 2013.
Long Island’s tendency is to raise taxes every year. The taxes can increase from two percent up to ten and eleven percent a year. With this type of increase schools can raise money for the districts’ overall spending. But with tax caps parents can only raise taxes by two percent a year, according to an article by the Journal News. This means some school programs may be cut and that is what voters are trying to prevent. Before the bill was passed, President Richard Lanuzzi of the New York State Teachers Union said, “If an ill-conceived, destructive tax cap, which is clearly what the Senate is prepared to approve today, goes forward and it goes forward at the same time as significant cuts in state support for education then that is going to have a devastating and destructive effect on school districts,”
Regarding the tax cap, Cullen said, “There are two sides to a school budget, Revenue and Expense.” He said the revenue is the annual income. If schools are limited by certain percents then there is only so much money a school can receive. The side that will be most effected is the expense, because the expense is the special programs that school districts offer students. If you only raise a certain amount of money those programs may be cut.
According to CBS News, 68 percent of New Yorkers are considering merging some local government services. Most New Yorkers do not want their towns and school districts merged unless the government can prove it will save taxpayers money. In the Baldwin District school officials say that merging districts is worth investigating but the schools are doing satisfactory. Cullen said that if he were governor, he would meet with students of all levels get an idea of their educational process. He would then listen to school administrators , teachers and supporters. Finally he would meet with taxpayers. With the information he has learned from all three sides he would then discuss with the legislature to come up with a solution.
According to several polls, most people are just worried that the tax cap won’t have a positive affect. They want to preserve schools and the chances that their children may receive a proper education. Most New Yorkers do not want to see many teachers being laid off. That would mean bigger class rooms and less special programs. Luckily, in Baldwin and other Long Island districts that is certainly not the case. Cullen said, “We want the government whether it’s the federal or state to be sensitive to the needs of all students at all levels, in terms of ability to offer educational programs and opportunity and to provide the resources that meet that goal.”