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Proposed Federal Cuts to Education Funding Spark Visits, Letters from School Board Reps

Posted Friday, August 25, 2017 - 03:32 PM

Letters outlining concerns about proposed cuts to federal education funding have been sent as follow up correspondence after representatives from the Erie County Association of School Boards and the New York State School Boards Association met with Congressman Chris Collins and the District Director from the office of Congressman Brian Higgins.

Although the meetings were separate, the concerns were the same, as school board representatives expressed alarm and opposition toward cuts to IDEA (Special Education), Vocational and Technical Education, Impact Aid and Teacher Training (Title II) funding that have been proposed in the Trump budget.

The representatives explained that local school districts do not have the funding capacity to make up for federal aid cuts. Through the NYS tax levy cap mechanism, low inflation rates limit local school districts’ ability to offset reductions in federal funding. Moreover, after several years of cuts through NYS’s Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA), districts have little financial cushion to absorb federal cuts.

The group urged the Congressmen to spread a message to all members of NY State’s Congressional delegation about the negative impact to school districts if federal funding does not grow in line with (or at a rate higher than) inflation. “We called upon both Congressmen to keep constituent concerns their priority and to ‘get beyond partisan politics,'” said Dr. Bruce Fraser, incoming ECASB Executive Director. He will make follow up calls to each office to determine if our two local Congressmen are working to promote an understanding of how federal reductions impact tax-capped NY State school districts.

Here is the ECASB letter sent to the office of Congressman Chris Collins.
Here is the ECASB letter sent to the office of Congressman Brian Higgins
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It was pointed out that education funding may be acted on very quickly upon the return of Congress in September. This strategy would limit input through the normal hearing process and curtail the ability of advocates to impact the legislation. If you want to help stop the cuts, you must raise your voice! Click here for contact information to reach our local Congressional representatives on education funding issues.

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