CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Superintendents and Presidents of the Board of Education will be joined by elected officials virtually on Friday morning to outline their legislative priorities for 2021.
Superintendents and Board of Education Presidents from 31 school districts in Washington, Saratoga, Warren, Hamilton, and Essex Counties, along with invited elected officials including Assemblymember Carrie Woerner, Assemblymember John McDonald, Assemblymember Mary Beth Walsh, and State Sen. Jim Tedisco attended the Zoom conference with a panel of students.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure that our in-person instruction is maintained, and that when we shift to a hybrid model or a remote model, that students are having the resources necessary to successfully participate,” said Andrew Cook, Superintendent of the Chief School Officers Legislative Committee.
The Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton-Essex (WSWHE) BOCES lists the following as their 2021 Legislative Priorities:
- Fund 2021-2022 school aid to the greatest extent possible
- Support a long term solution to small group health insurance protections
- Address dramatic cost increases related to unemployment insurance
“There’s been a lot of additional unemployment claims as a result of the pandemic, and school districts are challenging ones that we think are fraudulent, and have created an increased cost. But the turn around time on those investigations has been pretty slow,” said Cook, “so districts are putting out that money that wasn’t budgeting for, that may be fraudulent, with no realistic expectation of when those claims are going to be settled.”
WSWHE BOCES is requesting that the legislature ensures school aid distribution is equitable, considering the district’s ability to pay, and student need. They’re also asking for a stable baseline aid figure to be provided to schools for the 2021-2022 school year.
“As a member of the Assembly Committee on Education, I believe that the legislative priorities and goals outlined were very reasonable, given the difficult fiscal year we are facing,” said Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I-Ballston). “As a strong advocate for BOCES and the opportunities it provides for students interested in taking a different path, I will also be sure to keep an eye on the governor’s proposal to consolidate several school aid categories – including BOCES Aid.”
“It was great to participate in this annual meeting with around 100 other participants including students, local representatives, special guests and the WSWHE region’s School Superintendents,” said Mark Fish, Superintendent of the Greenwich Central School District. ” The virtual agenda developed by BOCES Superintendent Jim Dexter, Advocacy Chairperson Andy Cook and the advocacy committee showcased programs and opportunities and allowed student voice with area leaders on the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. “