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Trustee: Rally Will Focus on State Funding Beyond the Tax Cap, Too

However, Thursday's event is not an official district event.

Thursday's at Ward Melville High School is intended to draw attention to the overall problem of the lack of public school funding from the state and not solely the tax cap, according to Deanna Bavlnka, a school board trustee who is helping to publicize the rally.

The state has slashed public school funding to Long Island schools by $714 million over the past three years – including $5 million from Three Village's allotment – thus motivating the rally, according to the Long Island Progressive Coalition, one of the groups facilitating it.

The groups Alliance for Quality Education and Educate NY Now are also involved in the planning of the event, which will take place at multiple schools on Long Island. Bavlnka also clarified that the rally is not an official school district event, but rather a community event that will simply take place on school grounds.

Bill Connors, another school board trustee, said at Tuesday's board meeting that ten years ago the district's budget consisted of 31 percent state funding, while this year, the budget only consists of 19.9 percent state funding.

Bavlnka said that for every dollar Long Island taxpayers spend on education, only 23 cents gets sent back to the island's 124 school districts.

"It’s kind of depressing that we spend a lot of money on Long Island, but we’re not getting it back for our students," Bavlnka said at Tuesday's board meeting. "We need to make that part of the rally."

The school district has already started looking at the upcoming budget season, with administrators predicting a gap of $8.4 million between income and expenditures, with a leeway of less than $3 million that can be raised by increasing the tax levy due to the tax cap.

That number doesn't include impending cuts to federal funding via the Federal Budget Control Act of 2011, against which the school board recently voted to take a stance. Connors along with trustee Susanne Mendelson will soon travel to a state conference about budget caps to urge the government to repeal that act.

Bavlnka said the rally is also intended to draw attention to unfunded state mandates. Those are programs that the state requires school districts to implement but for which it does not provide funding.

"There’s tons of things that can be done" about those mandates, Bavlnka said. "These mandates drive schools' costs. The opportunities to relieve schools of mandates have been identified, but they’re not being acted on."

EG October 25, 2012 at 10:51 AM
I would like to know who initiated this rally against the taxpayers. Was it Deanna Bavlnka contacting the whacko leftist Long Island Progressive Coalition or the reverse
justme October 25, 2012 at 04:06 PM
How about a rally to lower costs? We need the tax cap to keep costs down. "Educational Leaders" as they were called in the previous article have proved that they will not make meaningful strides to lowering salaries and benefits costs which is 75% of the annual budget. As a member of the district, its not appropriate to have this kind of rally against taxpayers on school grounds.
R. S. October 25, 2012 at 04:41 PM
You need to understand that the Three Village taxpayers favor the cap, because history has shown that the Three Village School district will not reign in spending on their own. If you think you can rally to raise my taxes in excess of the cap you are mistaken.

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