BY SENATOR DAVID CARLUCCI
The East Ramapo Central School District is owed $208,311 in federal funding after an error was admittedly made by the State Education Department (SED) for the 2017-2018 school year. This funding is critical to the largely minority district, which has been suffering financially due to unique circumstances. While we were able to secure the district $3 million over 3 years and an additional $1 million in aid for this year, the school budget being voted down for the upcoming school year makes every single cent for this district vitally important.
The SED’s mistake is alarming because they allocated $12 million in federal funds to mostly charter schools when it should have gone to 687, mostly public schools. Further, the SED’s plan to payback the schools who were underfunded is unfair to a district like East Ramapo who will have to wait 2 years to be made financially whole, while the majority of other public schools will be paid back this upcoming school year.
The SED’s plan is to treat East Ramapo, along with three other districts upstate differently because these schools are owed the greatest amount in funding. It would be more logical to give the schools owed the most their allocation first due to need. Instead, East Ramapo will be paid $130,000 next school year and then $78,311 in 2 years. This is unacceptable, when the other 680 schools are receiving their funding entirely next year. The SED is essentially telling the schools in critical need they are not as important.
In an effort to change this plan, I am reaching out to the SED Commissioner, MaryEllen Elia to setup a meeting and discuss other options for rectifying this funding mistake.