Advocacy Update: 2019 Budget Advocacy Continues
February 20, 2019
Last week, the Governor released the "30-Day Amendments" to his budget proposal. Advocates in all sectors worried that after the announcement of an anticipated $2.3 billion deficit, there would be large cuts in all sectors. While some areas were not as lucky, education remained largely unchanged in the Executive proposal.
The legislative houses are both working on their respective proposals. Many of you connected with your legislators at the 2019 Capital Conference, but it is important to continue communicating and informing them of your districts needs. The Executive budget proposal is simply inadequate to meet the needs of districts across the state, with some districts receiving only hundreds of dollars more than in the 2018-19 fiscal year.
Consider contacting your legislators over the next 2 weeks to tell them what your districts need. NYSSBA Governmental Relations is here to help you do this in a variety of ways:
Send a letter on behalf of your board. NYSSBA has put together a sample letter for you to use as a starting point, which can be viewed below:
Contact your legislators for an in-district meeting. A link to the materials used for legislative meetings at the Capital Conference last week is below. If you need help identifying the legislators that represent your school district, contact Belinda Heckler, Governmental Relations Representative and Grassroots Advocacy Manager, for assistance at Belinda.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact your legislators individually. A letter to contact individual legislators has been added to the NYSSBA Action Center.
Understanding State Aid
The NYSSBA Governmental Relations team has released a new state aid handbook - "State Aid: What School Board Members Should Know". This reference guide walks through the process and factors that drive the primary school aid formulas, including Foundation Aid (which though frozen remains the primary statutory operating aid formula).
This tool may aid your district in your board discussions and conversations with legislators. If you would like to receive hard copies, contact NYSSBA Governmental Relations.
Federal School Infrastructure Funding
House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott and 153 cosponsors have introduced legislation - entitled, The Rebuild America's Schools Act (H.R.865) - to provide grants and tax credits to help school districts meet their infrastructure needs. NYSSBA will continue to work with NSBA to seek increased infrastructure support for school districts, without attaching additional labor benefits that would increase cost or limit district authority.
NYSSBA's Governmental Relations team will continue to report on these and other issues. For more information, visit our Key Issues Page.