School Board Opposses Cuomo Proposals

On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the New Paltz School Board passed two resolutions voicing opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $250 million competitive grant program and his proposed changes to legislative redistricting.

“The program sets up a situation where there are winners and losers and we felt that just wasn’t fair,” School Board Vice President K.T. Tobin Flusser said.

Tobin Flusser said the board members opposed the competitive grant program because it would cut operating aid in an environment where schools already do not get the sufficient amount of operation cost that they need. In addition, she said the proposed legislative redistricting presents the problem of representation because it will create fragmented leadership.

According to an article in the Daily Freeman, during the Board of Education meeting on Feb. 1, District Superintendent Maria Rice said the amount of competitive grant funding is more than the school leaders had expected.

“What we’re saying is that money would truly be better spent if he left it at $50 million for his competitive grants as we had originally anticipated and took the other $200 million and put it back into the operating aid formula,” she said. “All districts would receive more aid at a time when we greatly need it to offer more programming for students and not have that affect the tax levy.”

Tobin Flusser said the board members are recommending maps to promote one representative for the county rather than four representatives emerging due to the newly proposed district lines.

“In the best practices for creating districts you’re supposed to keep communities whole, municipalities’ whole and school districts whole,” Tobin Flusser said.

The New Paltz School Board is not the only organization in support of these resolutions.

Toblin Flusser said the Village of New Paltz recently passed the same resolutions, and legislatures of Ulster County and Dutchess County are considering passing similar resolutions.