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    Let your Voice be Heard: Stand up and Advocate for Peekskill City School District 

    In recent years, Peekskill City School District and other small city school districts have been challenged in their educational efforts because of decreasing school aid, rising costs, and increasing state mandates.  These fiscal constraints have directly impacted our district, which continues to grow in size and requires us to accommodate our learners in an equitable and competitive manner.  As noted in the January, 2014 report on Inequality in NY School Funding Report, “The quality of a child’s education should not be a function of where that child resides.”  

    It is the duty and mission of PCSD to provide students with the depth and breadth of educational programs and services so they have the skills and knowledge to be college and career-ready, whether their plans include higher education, the workplace, a trade or craft, family business or the military.

    Since the 2007-2008 school year, the Peekskill City School District has lost more than $46 million in Foundation Aid. This aid needs to be fully restored so our district can fund staff and programs that continue to create educational opportunities for our children.

    PCSD is proud of its schools, students and community, and is committed to moving forward as a place where people want to live while raising and educating their children. The district encourages the community to be a part of that process and help prepare students for the future.  It is our responsibility to provide educational opportunities that are equitable to our suburban counterparts so as our students are afforded parity as it relates to remaining competitive post high-school and within the global economy. 

    Our district deserves the right to an equivalent and sound education for all students. The following highlights solutions to the fiscal challenges placed upon our growing system over the years.

    1. Unfreeze/Reform Foundation Aid
    2. Fund unfunded mandates
    3. Fully fund full-time preschool for eligible children.

    Advocacy takes many forms. It could be a formal letter to an elected official asking for change, an informal letter with an anecdote, a comment made during a public forum, a letter to a newspaper editor or formal testimony at public hearings.

     

    Convenient Ways to TAKE ACTION

    1. Click here to find Peekskill City School District’s State representatives by zip code. (Or see the list of representitive contact information to the left of this page).
    2. Click here to print out our pre-composed letters and mail them to any or all of your elected officials.
    3. Call any or all of your elected officials and let your voice be heard. 
    4. Visit the Westchester / Putnam School Board Association's Advocacy webpage and participate in their campagins as well. 

    Sample Letter #1: Re. Foundation Aid Restoration 

    RESTORE FULL FUNDING TO OUR SCHOOLS
    Fully FUND Foundation Aid

    Dear                   ,

    The 2019 NYS Budget must address school funding issues. The cost involved in providing an appropriate public education to every student in New York State, as mandated in the New York State Constitution, continues to increase due to factors beyond the control of local school boards, including, but not limited to, increased cost of external services required to meet state requirements and the ever-increasing cost of health care and pension benefits. 

    The unprecedentedly low inflation rate this year means that the New York State Tax Levy Cap for the 2018-19 year is once again below 2 percent, allowing little or no increase in overall school tax revenues. Please support legislation that would set the allowable growth factor of the real property tax cap at a minimum of 2 percent.

    Since the 2007-2008 school year, the Peekskill City School District alone has lost over $46 million.

    I call upon Governor Andrew Cuomo to fully fund Foundation Aid, and restoration of the lost aid, $3.6 billion statewide and $46 million to the Peekskill City School District in his Executive Budget. 

    I also call upon the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate to actively support fully funding Foundation Aid, and the restoration of Lost Aid, in the coming budget negotiations. 

    Furthermore, I call upon Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate to oppose the adoption of any budget which does not fully fund Foundation Aid, and restoration of Lost Aid, for all school districts statewide.

    Sincerely,
    (Your Name) 

     

    Letter #2: RE: 2019-2020 Proposed NYS Executive Budget

    Dear                    ,

    I am writing to ask that you please OPPOSE a critical cut to our school district’s BOCES, Transportation and Building Aids, as well as cuts to our summer Special Education programs in the 2019-20 school year. The 2019-2020 Executive Budget proposes to cap certain aids, which NYSASBO estimates will have a combined impact of at least $295 million statewide. This includes a $124 million cut to Building Aid, an $80 million cut to Transportation Aid, a $51 million cut to BOCES Aid and a $40 million cut to aid for summer programs for students with disabilities who need year round programming.

    In recent years, the Peekskill City School District and other small city school districts have been challenged in their educational efforts because of decreasing school aid, rising costs and increasing state mandates. Now we are faced with yet another challenge as New York State is attempting to cut aid once again.   

    The 2019-20 Executive Budget proposal recommends that the Legislature adopt a statewide cap of two percent for Building Aid beginning in 2019-20. Additionally, the proposed 2019-2020 Executive Budget limits districts’ Transportation Aid and BOCES Aid to a two percent district cap beginning in 2019-20. Finally, State Aid for summer school for students with disabilities will be recalculated using a wealth equalized state share rather than a flat 80 percent reimbursement, regardless of a district’s wealth, beginning with Special Education programs operating after July 1, 2018.

    If the 2019-20 Executive Budget is passed with the above noted changes, the Peekskill City School District will experience a total estimated loss of $424,472 in Aid!

    Funding Category

    Expected Loss

    Building Aid

    $163,154

    Transportation Aid

    $113,421

    BOCES Aid

    $108,970

    Summer Special Education Aid

    $38,928

    TOTAL LOSS

    $424,472

    Our district deserves the right to an equivalent and sound education for all students. As noted in the January, 2014 report on Inequality in NY School Funding, “The quality of a child’s education should not be a function of where that child resides.”  Please help to STOP these proposed cuts to our BOCES, Transportation and Building Aids, as well as cuts to summer programs for our special education students.

    Sincerely,

    (Your name)

     

    Additional Information and Resources: