NEW: Chappaqua Board of Education encourages community advocacy

April 4, 2014
by Victoria Tipp, on behalf of the Chappaqua Central School District Board of Education members Jeffrey Mester, President; Karen Visser, Vice-President, Alyson Kiesel, Warren Messner, Victoria Tipp

A significant number of laws and regulations (commonly referred to as “mandates”) are formulated at the state and national level without input, feedback, or cost-benefit analysis from local school districts, and often result in unintended negative educational and fiscal consequences. Our elected representatives are better informed about local concerns and their magnitude, and are most likely to respond when they hear directly from individual constituents. We encourage you to contact them.

The District has created an “Advocacy” tab at the top of the District homepage (and a quick link on each school’s homepage) that has sample letters related to issues believed to be of immediate concern to our school district and likely to gain traction with our state government at this time.
One letter requests an immediate moratorium on State standardized testing.*  The other letter urges the repeal of the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA).**  Please feel free to use the letters as written or you may customize them to your liking.  Email links and mailing addresses are also provided so you can send those letters to all relevant parties.

The Board has focused on collaborative efforts with school districts in our region through the advocacy work of the Westchester Putnam School Boards Association, New York State School Boards Association and the Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents.  We have found that success is most likely when there is strength in numbers and when the message is not diluted by disparate efforts spread over a multitude of issues.

Please keep in mind that the Advocacy page is a work-in-progress as the Board continues to monitor ongoing legislative issues affecting school districts. The page will be updated as new issues arise.

Click HERE to go to the “Advocacy” page of the District’s website.

*  We thank the PTA Advocacy Committee Chair, Christina Madden, for working with us on this letter, and the Chappaqua PTA for joining us in advocacy efforts.

**  A brief video explanation of the GEA, is embedded below.  Update: The GEA letter may soon be temporarily replaced until next year’s state budget season.  The state budget, which passed this Monday, April 1, 2014, adds $602 million state-wide to reduce the GEA, still leaving a gap of about $1 billion to be eliminated in subsequent years.  The elimination of state aid under the GEA for the CCSD 2014-15 school budget is $1,166,974.  The restoration of aid for CCSD was projected at $72,494.  The amount just restored in the state budget provides CCSD with an additional $98,222, for a total of $170,716 out of the $1,166,974 owed.

GEA- Statewide from Cap Region BOCES on Vimeo.

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