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Sachem Legislative Group Urges Community Activism

In an attempt to restore state aid, Legislative Committee launches letter-writing campaign.

The Sachem Legislative Committee, a body that focuses on state and local government policies that affect education, have distributed a letter to the community, pleading for them to participate in a massive letter-writing campaign. The campaign is aimed at restoring the $2 million in state aid the district is slated to lose.

From Committee Co-Chairs Dana Platin and Sal Tripi, the letter reads in its entirety:

Dear Sachem Resident,

This note is a plea for your assistance. Without additional assistance from the state, Sachem residents will face the most dramatic tax increase in recent history or we will be forced to make substantial cuts in the educational programs. You can help by contacting the Governor’s office as well as all state officials (see related link contact sheet below).  Please tell them what a great community Sachem is. Tell them about your personal experiences with Sachem and how without additional aid our school district will experience severe and detrimental cuts.

The current State aid proposal, prepared and proposed by Gov. Cuomo, projects that Sachem will receive only $105,380,122 in state aid.  This is close to 1 million dollars less than last year and far less than what was expected.  In fact, the projected aid to Sachem is about the same as it was in 2005. In 2005, the Sachem community received $105.2M. In 2009 we received $119.2M (over $14 million more than we are projected to receive this year).  Despite the reduction in aid, the NYS TRS payments, healthcare costs and overall operating costs have skyrocketed.  Most notable, we have received NO relief at all to NYS mandated costs.  All this has resulted in a current shortfall of over $26 million dollars.

If you recall, in recent years, the state has directed school districts to use all available reserves in order to fund the previous years’ budgets. At Sachem we did just that. Over the last few years we have virtually depleted all available reserves to maintain the programs during the financial crises. The state assured us that restoration in aid was “on the way”.  Unfortunately our reserves are now at a dangerously low level and our auditors have called us a “district in financial distress”.

The Governor’s proposal has added several billion dollars for additional aid. Unfortunately, none of this is for Sachem. This is not acceptable. We need your support and action. Please call, email and send letters to the Governor and all of our elected officials. Tell them we cannot tolerate this and the entire Sachem community needs their support. Tell them all the great things that occur in our district. Tell them what Sachem means to you and why we need their help.

There is not much the administration and/or Board can do to make up such a deficit. Without additional aid from the state, we will be forced to either raise taxes over 16% or cut all programs other than basic required educational classes – nothing else – and substantially raise class size. This is not something that we can or should tolerate. Please see attached contact sheet of all state officials. Your help is urgently needed.

Dana Platin and Sal Tripi

Co-chairs, Sachem Legislative Committee

For a list of contact information for the representatives to be addressed, browse the photo gallery to this story.

Editor's Note: The list can also be viewed by clicking here.

 

John Davanzo February 20, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Maybe they should look at the administrators and teacher salarys in sachem, that's where the problem is, glad I moved to Florida to escape that mess!!!
Jen Jones February 20, 2013 at 08:32 PM
The problem is not with the teachers' salaries. They have our children all day every day, educating them, and dealing with the nonsense that comes from having to teach to the test. In my opinion teachers earn every penny of their salary. Administrators? We probably have too many of those. Neither is the point - the point is the state is cutting our aid while costs continue to rise and other districts are getting increases, and that is unacceptable.
Bill L February 21, 2013 at 11:57 AM
It is the administration that is very costly. When I went to Sachem we had a principle and vice principle. Now they have vice principles and deans for every grade and dept. Cut from the top, thats where all the big salaries are.We vote these school board members in and they do nothing to solve the problem. Eventually Sachem will tax themselves out of existence.
Engineer and Mom February 21, 2013 at 06:28 PM
It's all well and good to ask for state aid, but the fact is, that there is a lot of greed. Cronyism resulting in too many administrators with high salaries, and somehow the public only complains about teacher salaries. Yes, teachers get paid well, but they get less in Sachem than in many other districts. Our big problem is those administrator salaries. Look at the line items for administrators in the budget. Cut there, before asking the state (which is the taxpayer) to give us money. Maybe if the state sees fiscal responsibility, they'll be more likely to trust us with taxpayer dollars.
sachem guy February 21, 2013 at 10:46 PM
If nonprofits who cannot raise taxes get 2 million dollar rate cuts and still find a way to educate disabled students sachem needs to be creative. Teachers in nonprofits are paid much less and work a longer school year. How about the board doing more than complainig. Non profits must do more with less too. Be creative!

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