OSSINING, N.Y. -- The Ossining Daily Voice accepts signed and original letters to the editor up to 350 words. To submit your letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A school district’s ability to properly prepare its students to achieve success now is essential for our communities to thrive.
The Ossining School District has been an outstanding example of parents, educators, and administration working together to deliver an outstanding education. Despite the District’s dedicated teachers and staff working tirelessly to educate our students, the Foundation Aid monies that the school receives from the state have remained frozen for the past several years, forcing the District to stretch resources to make ends meet.
Foundation Aid is calculated based on a number of factors, including poverty level of a school district, enrollment figures, property values, and needs of a district. While every school district in the state has experienced a similar freeze, Ossining School District has been hit especially hard by this freeze and the state must act now to avoid a potential disaster.
Since 2008, the Ossining School District has experienced a 14.2 percent increase in enrollment. As a result, classes are held in any space that can accommodate the large number of students.
The financial background of incoming student families has also begun to impact the districts fiscal situation. 51 percent of Ossining students qualify for free or reduced lunch, which is an increase of 24.7 percent in the past three years.
Sensing that large property tax increases would be a burden on the community, the District preemptively made cuts and worked diligently to keep property tax increases low. Their reward for fiscal constraint turned into a punishment however when aide was frozen leaving resources scarce to enhance or expand programs for a booming school population.
This means of course that our students are the ones paying the price. The educational futures of our children should not be burdened by politics. The District deserves their fair share of Foundation Aid funding and I will do everything in my power to secure more funding for our district. Sign my petition urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to unfreeze Foundation Aid for Ossining.
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