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Letter: Dutchess' Sen. Serino Is Confusing Voters With Education Stance

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HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- The Northwest Dutchess Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send signed letters under 350 words to

To the editor:

Our kids can't wait another year while you politicians in Albany keep neglecting us and worse by willfully confusing voters by positioning yourself as a champion of education.

Your jumping on the effort to pay back the Gap Elimination Adjustment will benefit wealthy school districts, and will not meet the needs of our kids in high-needs schools who are struggling to survive with dwindling resources. We need funding for the Foundation Aid, which is required by the NYS Court of Appeals for Beacon to provide a "sound and basic education."

In the Beacon City School District, students living in poverty (51 percent) and students with disabilities (17 percent) have been hit hardest by New York State's refusal to fund the Foundation Aid. Vital services and support for these students have disappeared. An entire generation of students have experienced a downgrade in the quality of their education under the watch of politicians like yourself who have refused to prioritize quality public education over the whims of billionaires.

The Foundation Aid formula is designed to distribute funds equitably and would provide funding to make a meaningful difference in the quality of our schools. The numbers reveal a stark difference between the GEA payback and the actual needs of our students. Your proposal to pay back the GEA alone only provides $344,896. The amount required for Beacon is $3,794,216.

Sen. Serino, the additional funding our schools need to meet the basic standard for a quality education is ten times the amount your propose. If you are concerned about the welfare of our most vulnerable children, you should fight for a $1.1 billion increase in Foundation Aid in the 2016 budget and for full funding of Foundation Aid.

Stop throwing us under the bus. Stand up for kids.

Sources cited: Beacon City Schools enrollment data, info on GEA amount owed to Beacon City Schools, data on Foundation Aid owed to Beacon City Schools.

-Terry Nelson

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