Carlucci’s Column: Fighting For School Funding

BY STATE SENATOR DAVID CARLUCCI

When you’re looking to move, as a parent your first question may often be, ‘how are the schools?’ Quality public school education is the single best investment we can make because we know our children are the future. They’re the future doctors, lawyers, astronauts, and so much more. A quality education opens doors, putting children on a path to opportunity and successes beyond their dreams.

As the final days of the New York State Budget process approach their completion, it’s important for residents to know I value education and funding for education. My oldest son will be starting kindergarten at a New City public school in September. I want him to have all the opportunities he, and every student, deserves.

Dedicated teachers and staff working hard day in and day out to make sure students are successful, well adjusted, and happy should not have to do more with less. My wife is a schoolteacher, so I see every day the challenges a teacher can face.

We’ve all seen the problems the East Ramapo Central School District has faced due to unique circumstances. Over the years, a lack of funding at the district level has led to layoffs of staff, teachers, social workers and deans. It has also led to cuts to full-day kindergarten, programs like art and music education, Advanced Placement classes, athletics and extracurricular activities.

To help offset these problems, in 2016 and 2017, I worked with fellow lawmakers to secure $3 million each year for the school district; the money helping to restore full-day kindergarten, music and art education and other education enhancing programs. State monitors were also put in place to oversee the district’s finances to ensure our children are put first. Additionally in 2016, I secured $1 million for emergency repairs at Ramapo High School, and in 2017, I secured $70,000 in state funding to rebuild the playground at Summit Park Elementary School.

Currently, budget negotiations are still ongoing, but I’m confident the East Ramapo Central School District will get at least another $3 million this year to continue funding full-day kindergarten, art and music education and other non-mandated programs. The monitors overseeing the school’s finances will also remain in place. This extra oversight will give taxpayers more confidence and input into the district.

I, along with fellow lawmakers Assemblywoman Jaffe and Assemblyman Zebrwoski, am pushing for more money in our classrooms. We know our district cannot do more with less, and we know this $3 million will be critical to our district.

Our work isn’t done yet as we look for ways to improve state funding for education.