February 2017
National Advocacy Institute, Washington, D.C. (January 2017)

National Advocacy Institute - Washington, D.C. (January 2017)

From left to right: Stephen Jambor, Lynn McBride, Richard Kreps, Lisa Davis, Robert Johnson


President's Message
With the GEA finally out of the way, there remains one (very steep) hurdle in the track for attaining fair and equitable funding for our schools. It is The Foundation Aid Formula - perhaps the most gerrymandered algorithm in public education this side of the APPR! Thirty-four of our school districts are under-funded by the State, according to the current formula. Based on the changing demographics in our two counties, a new costing-out study (which is long overdue) would likely increase that number. Yet there are other hurdles to appropriate funding for districts in a high cost region such as ours: an overly broad regional cost index and poverty parameters that rely on a single national income threshold for all families. It may sound cliché, but one size does not fit all!
These issues are outlined below and will be explored more deeply at our March 9th Legislative Forum. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. We hope to see you there. As local elected officials, we need to fight for every dollar for every child. We need to advocate for our region and ensure we get over this and every other hurdle - It Matters!
Perhaps There is a Silver Lining...
The recent debate over the nomination of the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, is helping to galvanize people who had not previously focused on the importance of public education and why it should matter to them. As board members, we live and breathe public education issues every day, but most community members have not needed to do so! NPR recently ran a piece suggesting that as people are becoming more aware of the importance of local governance and local decision-making, there is more interest in running for local positions such as the board of education. Public discussion of issues such as school choice, school diversity, charter schools, measuring student growth or student proficiency, public dollars for private education, and the rights of special education students and others, has also shed light on school funding realities.  As locally elected board of education members, we need to ensure that New York State remains steadfast in its commitment to use public dollars for public education, and that every school district has the appropriate funding, staffing, and resources to focus on the needs of every child who walks through its doors. That is the promise of public education, and that message is now out of the bottle!
~ Stephen O. Jambor, Ph.D, WPSBA President/Brewster BOE
Rescheduled for Thursday, March 9
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Purchase Elementary School
(Harrison Central School District)
2995 Purchase Street, Purchase, NY
TOGETHER, we will stand up for public education and the students we serve!
At the Governor's budget rollout in January, there was little mention of education.  Our goal is to put the spotlight on the need to "right-size" educational aid.   Visit the WPSBA WEBSITE for regularly updated Board of Education resolution templates & VoterVoice advocacy e-letters. 
Here are 5 funding issues to focus on:
  • Foundation Aid Formula - While our State Associations called for an increase of over $2 billion in total aid, the Executive Budget proposes about half that amount, including only 10% of the funding needed for the full phase-in of Foundation Aid ($428 million of $4.3 billion due).  A provision in the Governor's proposal would ignore the phase-in and set the 2017-18 aid as the new base level- that is unacceptable! The State must appropriately fund our public schools and not renege on its constitutional responsibility. This will require a new costing out study and a transparent, dependable, funding formula based on actual costs and student need, with a save-harmless provision. 
  • Regional Cost Index - Westchester and Putnam Counties have a 1.5468 and 1.3931 cost factor respectively for SED's building aid calculation, yet for the Foundation Aid formula we are linked to the 7 county Hudson Valley Region Cost Index (with a 1.314 cost index). Therefore, the formula does not reflect our true regional cost for district salaries and other expenditures. We ask that the State take action and consistently link all regional cost indices to a county index rather than to an aggregated regional index.
  • Poverty Measures - Regional cost factors affect poverty in our communities and the Federal government's "one-size-fits-all" approach, which is based on a flat national salary threshold, does not address our region's needs.  We are proposing that the State consider alternative poverty measures that incorporate regional salary and expenditures such as The Census Supplemental Measure of Poverty (SPM) and United Way ALICE data (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) to determine the true face of poverty in NYS.
  • Special Act Public School Districts - Despite being part of the public school system, Special Act School Districts are funded like private schools, with a rate-setting methodology that fails to take into account the costs of public school staffing and mandates. Special Acts are struggling to remain financially viable, and we are therefore asking our legislators to support a bill to give SED the authority to create a new rate setting methodology unique to Special Act School Districts.
  • Adjustments to Tax Levy Limit Legislation - The current formula is unsustainable.  The NYS Educational Conference Board (ECB), which is comprised of statewide education associations, recommends updating the formula to include a straight 2% increase and enrollment growth, eliminate negative levy limits with a 0% floor and allow for adjustments due to PILOTS or large tax certiorari.  WPSBA is also proposing that Boards of Education have the same authority as local municipal boards to override the levy limit with a 60% vote of their governing body.  A simple majority community vote would then be sufficient to pass a proposed school budget. 
The Forum will include a short presentation on United Way's ALICE data, followed by table discussions with your State legislators.  Don't miss this opportunity to give your input and get information that you can bring back to energize your community to support our schools!

CLICK HERE if you haven't registered yet!
District Clerk Workshop
Wednesday, March 1

WPSBA's annual spring workshop for District Clerks will focus on the ins and outs of the school district vote. They will meet with County Election Commissioners and Attorney Candace Gomez of Bond, Schoeneck & King.

E ducation P olicy F ellowship P rogram
Hosts an Education Policy Symposium
Education: the Public Good or The Individual Good? 
A Conversation About the Next Four Years

Friday, March 24
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Cowin Center - Teachers College, Columbia University, 525 West 120th Street
New York EPFP is celebrating its 35th Anniversary!  In today's political climate, public education is at a crossroads.  This program will address the issues head-on with a keynote address, reactive panel and breakout groups.  The Kenote Speaker is Richard D. Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow - The Century Foundation, Washington, D.C.
All are welcome to attend without charge.  This program is sponsored by WPSBA, Columbia University Teachers College, Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES and the Institute for Educational Leadership.
CLICK HERE to register!
Upcoming...Prospective School Board Member Workshop
  Thursday, April 6 
WPSBA will host a workshop for Prospective School Board Members
All those interested in running for their local school boards can learn from School Board Members and a Superintendent about:
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • District Issues and Operations
  • Board - Superintendent Relationships
  • Myths and Realities

If you know anyone thinking about a potential school board run, have them contact us or they can go to our website to sign up: WPSBA WEBSITE

Be Prepared - We will be launching our annual weekly budget surveys after February break!
For a full list of upcoming events:
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